Being on the cusp of the “boomer/greatest generation” we grew up in families that had modest jobs, little savings and of course no financial planning for retirement. Relatives took care of relatives and friends and neighbors were family extensions in times of need and concern. Being the oldest in our families gave both of us a different perspective from our siblings. We saw and experienced the worst of times and in doing so became focused on what we had to do to not repeat the cycle of poverty we came from. Back then, our financial challenges were great. Needless to say there were no conversations about money other than how we should get out of the house, be on our own and make some. As kids we worked jobs in high school, during our college years and in many instances during the first 25 years of our married life, we worked two jobs at one time to make ends meet. As we looked back it never really dawned on us to do differently. We felt because of where we came from, the only choice we had was to try and move up, get better jobs, save for that preverbal rainy day looking to each day as a new opportunity and to face financial challenges as they came along. As Jonathan Clements says in the Wall Street Journal article Sunday, September 24, 2014, A Simple Secret to Wealth and good financial planning, “Wealth is born of great savings habits”. So the first part of our plan was to do just that start savings habits that worked.
Today the boomers big concern for financial planning and the future financial challenges they may face is “will they have enough money to live on in their retirement? Can they continue to live their current lifestyle after retirement?” In many instances what he sees is that the boomers have competing priorities when it comes to financial planning, a lot of assets but are still living paycheck to paycheck. Research indicates that a 65 year old today can expect to live nearly two more decades. This of course, translates to needing a tidy nest egg to make sure your standard of living is the same or similar to what you are experiencing today. AARP says, “Three-quarters of Americans between 55 and 64 have less than $30,000 put away. It all adds up to a $6.6 trillion gap between what we have and what we need”. Needless to say, everyone is looking for answers.