All those years ago when you were watching Happy Days, did you imagine you’d be stressing about retirement? We grew up on Barbie and Ken, the Beatles and wearing bell bottoms – and now some of us are grandparents! Is it a transition you’re ready for?
How did we get here? Baby boomers (those of us born 1946-1964) have been the most marketed to generation in history. After the WWII there was a huge growth and boom in electronics, gadgets, and an exciting allure of promise to live the perfect dream. Basically, consumerism was deep rooted into our sunconscious in the boomer generation, which resulted in the desire for material wealth, even to the point it became a core value. (Also known as ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’)
But to pay for this overspent lifestyle, we’ve had to work harder and longer hours than any other generation. Instead of saving for our future as our parents had learned to do, we’ve gone deeper into debt. Statistics say that 75% of boomers will continue to work after retirement just to keep up.
As we look into the mirror and see more gray hair, many of us have secret regrets—and guilt—about how poorly we’ve planned for our retirement. Fear, disgust and avoidance are often the responses. I say so what – you are where you are based on what you have done so far – you can’t go back and change it – but there are steps you can take NOW to play financial catch-up with your dreams, so don’t be discouraged. Some of us never had MONEY 101 at school or from our parents. But it is not too late.
First, having clarity about what you want, why you want it, and what it is going to take to get it (basically goals) is really the foundation for all financial planning. You have to clearly identify what financial resources you have, where they are, what their purposes are, and how much you need to live on. It’s important to budget – it allows you to keep track of your expenditures and income but also you can determine where you can spend money!
I heard a great acronym for Budget = Baby U Deserve Getting Every Thing !
The first wave of the baby boomer generation turns 65 next year. Statistically, less than 50% have a written plan. Having a plan provides you with direction and gives you confidence that by knowing your options, you will still be able to achieve your goals – even if life throws you a curve ball! In a recent study it claimed that boomers are concerned about having enough savings in retirement and their ideal retirement includes good health, living life the way they envisioned and having saved enough money for a comfortable retirement.
Two-thirds of boomers agree that the best gift they could receive is good health. It’s not surprising that health is on the minds of boomers and that’s why I acquired my RHU – Registered Health Underwriter (specializing in living benefits) because our health and wealth are intertwined – we know how critical both are to a successful and happy retirement.
Diving into planning for your future can be confusing and difficult. Give yourself permission to ask for help if you need it – I believe it is a sign of strength. There are many resources to help you get started ask a friend, a family member, books, seminars or a professional.
As we enter a new year in a few days – take some time for yourself to do some soul searching of your life and your dreams that you have not fulfilled yet. Do you really enjoy what you’re doing? What you’re buying? How do you feel about your future? Are you where you thought you would be? Now is the time to look at your financial situation and get clear about your priorities. Be assured your time is not up!
It is never too late to be, do and have whatever you want, it may sound corny and monotonous but it’s true – and another phrase – ‘carpe diem’ …I’ll change it to … ‘seize the new year’ and create the future you desire.
I wish you much success and prosperity for 2011!