What Millennials Can Learn from Boomers about Retirement Planning

Boomers retiring by the tens of millions each year.

How many times have you heard it said, “If I only knew then what I know now…” about everything from financial planning to raising kids? It’s likely that you’ve heard it at least several times a week and now even millennials are becoming tuned in to the problems besetting boomers as they age and retire.

The world is a much different place than it was, even a generation ago, and so it would be wise for the younger generation to look at some of the trials and tribulations of boomers as they begin retiring by the tens of millions each year.

Insufficient Planning Delays Retirement

One of the major problems that many boomers face is that they didn’t plan sufficiently for their future. They assumed their Social Security check along with that 401k or other retirement investment would be sufficient to provide for them in their senior years.

Back a few generations, there simply weren’t the resources to plan well for retirement and today’s retirees are learning that they should have planned better. Today there are financial products that are aimed at growing wealth for your senior years and these are the products millennials should be investigating when seeking to invest in their own futures.

Unexpected Rises in the Cost of Living

What it all boils down to is that no one really expected the cost of living to skyrocket as it has. Some attribute it to the cost of production, keeping prices rising while others attribute it to higher taxes and the increasing cost of fuel and food. For whatever reason, the cost of living has far surpassed the rise in wages and this is something no one could have foreseen but perhaps should have planned for anyway.

Avoid Borrowing against Retirement Savings

Another one of the big mistakes boomers made, almost across the board, is to have borrowed heavily along the way against their retirement savings. This is a big problem that millennials should learn from. If at all possible, don’t delete those savings! Find a way to finance what you need to pay but leave that money where it is so that it can continue growing.

You know what they say about good intentions, so don’t be caught in the ‘intend to replace it’ trap. Chances are you will never replace that money once it has been spent. Just as you think you’ve got your head above water, another crisis surfaces and so it goes. Put that money away and forget it’s there. That, perhaps, is the biggest lesson you can learn from boomers.

The Logic of Downsizing Early

When it comes to downsizing once the nest is empty, altogether too many people fail to liquidate assets early enough. That big six bedroom home you live in and raised your children in may be sentimental but now that it’s paid off, sell it, buy a smaller property and invest the profit made from the sale.

Too many middle age people hang on to the family homestead thinking to save it for the kids, or to have a place for them if they need to come home. It’s time for grown kids to be grown kids. Think about your future by downsizing as soon as the nest is empty. Can you imagine how that amount of money can grow over the course of a couple decades until you are ready to retire?

Diversify Your Investments

And one final thing which millennials should learn from boomers is that they failed to diversify their investment products early enough. Altogether too many people lost their savings with the economic crisis of a decade ago and now those boomers simply don’t have enough time to recover their losses.

By diversifying your retirement investments, you can have that added bit of protection if one market should fail. The last time it was real estate that led to a global crisis. What will it be next time around? No one knows so diversify, unless of course you are a fortune teller and can predict the future.

The intelligent millennial will take a good look around them and fully understand the predicament most boomers are in now as they face retirement. It is always good counsel to be told to learn from your elders, in both their triumphs and failures, but never more so when planning for retirement. Don’t fall into the same trap your parents and grandparents fell in. You can learn a lot from boomers if you care to open your eyes. Plan now and live comfortably later – a great investment strategy altogether.

 

 

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Managing Your Personal Finances the Smart Way

 

As a working adult in today’s economy, you will realize that managing personal finances is essential for survival. The cost of living is at an all-time high, there is more to spend on and less ways to make it. If you are not careful, you may end up living from pay check to pay check or worse, in debt! Saving is an essential part of managing personal finances that most people often fail at leading to financial strain in case of emergencies. The following are some of the ways you can improve your personal finances and save more:

Where are you financially

Start by knowing your financial status today. Financial status consists of a couple of factors:

  • How much you owe
  • How much you spend
  • How much you earn
  • How much you have in savings

You may need about a month to capture all the above information. Make sure you get all the credit card payments, bills, purchases and loans in order to determine where you are financially. Once you have a clear picture of your money, you can start making the decisions that will improve your financial status.

Determine your financial goals

It is quite difficult to have a plan if you do not have an end result in mind. You need to determine your monetary goals and develop a plan to meet these goals. Do you want to buy a new house? A new car? Start a business? You need to save up for short term or long term goals. Therefore, list down your needs in terms of urgency in order to avoid financially stressing yourself, buying expensive things that you do not presently need. Add up the costs of everything you need and this becomes your target savings for both long term and short-term needs. This is capital expenditures projection.

Cut back

Once you already know what you need, you should go back to your recorded spending and cut back on all unnecessary things. Unnecessary expenditures include things like magazine subscriptions that you never even read and cable TV that you never watch. Every dollar you cut back on is a dollar towards your goals. Websites like leasequit.com help you terminate your car lease early hence saving you money.

Once you are through cutting back, create a new monthly budget with only necessary expenditures and savings.

Jump start your savings

By now you are itching to start saving. Relax; you have already covered about 50% of the savings. Saving involves a lot of discipline and you might need to start avoiding hanging out with those friends that you often spend a lot of money with just to get your savings going. Here are some tips to jumpstart saving:

  • Open a saving account and set up an automatic savings transfer on a monthly basis.
  • You can also use direct deposit to move money from your salary straight to your savings.
  • Use your workplace’s 401(k) plan. 401(k) is a profit sharing plan offered by employers for employees.
  • Join a retirement benefits scheme.

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