Our observation: Going gracefully into retirement depends on your generation

Jim Cantrell Jim Cantrell June 12, 2019

Being fee-only financial planners, we at Financial Strategies Inc act in your best interests by removing the incentive of commissions from our compensation model. We work for you and you alone. But we’ve noticed lately a few trends in retirement planning. Based on our experience and some research, we have been able to make some generalizations about how each of the generations in the workforce today— Millennials, Gen Xers (Ys, too) and Baby Boomers — are preparing for retirement. It’s eye-opening and might help you understand your retirement planning.

Millennials: born between 1980 and 1996; currently age 23-39

Yoo-hoo, are you there? We know you are hesitant to get in the investment game, but it’s time. Don’t wait until you’ve paid off your student loans. Start investing now; it will have a significant effect on your savings. We’ve heard millennials say the stock market is not for them. We get it, you saw a big fail when you were in your 20s. But now, it’s your turn. Jump in. Time is on your side and works in your favor; you can wait out downturns. The easiest way to get started is to take advantage of your 401(k) at work. Invest at least the amount your employer will match, though you will need more if you want to retire some day.

Generation X: born between 1965 and 1979; currently age 40-54

This is your time. You are likely in your top earning years. Most of the Gen Xers we know have some sort of retirement plan in progress. Still we know there are some who think saving for retirement at 40 is tough. It can be. Gen Xers are figuring out ways to send children to college while at the same time caring for aging parents. But here’s what they can do to make their retirement years more comfortable:

  • Be mindful of your spending and saving habits. Set up a budget and have the discipline to stick with it.
  • Pay down your credit cards. Avoid any new borrowing.
  • Pay off any remaining student loans.
  • No one else is going to fund your retirement so ramp up your savings program. Take advantage of company retirement plans. Work toward contributing the maximum allowed and try not to borrow from them. If eligible, contribute to a Roth IRA.

Hang in there and you will soon realize you are more prepared to retire than you think.

Baby Boomers: born between 1944 and 1964; currently age 55-75

Hurray! Many clients in this generation category are in control of their retirement plan and are reaching their savings goals. The boomers we’ve seen who are still working participate in their employer-sponsored retirement plans, have diversified portfolios and are waiting to claim Social Security.

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