Each generation has its own distinct financial planning issues, money-related challenges to overcome, and dreams to fulfill. But whether you are age 20 or 65, it’s important to look at various financial considerations you should make in each season of your life. Many of these issues are ongoing, but their focus tends to increase or decrease depending on the stage of life.
For Millennials, America’s largest generation defined as those born from 1981-1996, starting a family, living month to month, paying student loans, and buying a house can be financially challenging issues.
For Generation Xers, the generation ages 35 to 54; there are many other issues in addition to saving for retirement such as weddings, children’s college education, and possible funding for a new business opportunity.
For Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, most issues revolve around a financially secure retirement, estate planning, helping care for aging parents, and living off the nest egg.
As we grow older, the waist measurement probably will change while financial goals and priorities definitely will. Taking time to meet with your Trust Point Financial Professional to review your financial picture at different stages in life can be a valuable opportunity to revisit broader long-term goals, which are constantly changing. Below are checklists of financial issues and ideas to consider according to the different stages of life for each generation.
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR MILLENNIALS
Young, computer savvy, starting a career, thinking about a family, and broke.
- Pay yourself first by contributing to your 401(k) at work, at least up to the company match and designate a beneficiary, usually your spouse.
- Begin an emergency fund with a goal of liquid savings of up to 3–4 months living expenses. Save early and often.
- Get a better handle on your personal finances by making a budget. Manage debts by taking advantage of tax-deductible interest rather than credit cards.
- If you have children, get a low-cost term life insurance policy and take advantage of company-provided life insurance benefits.
- Do some investing research. Invest through dollar-cost averaging or auto mutual fund deposits.
- Buy a house and start building equity, but don’t “stress” the budget by overspending on mortgage payments.
- Create a safety net for your family by participating in company health care benefits.
- Draft a basic will that includes naming a guardian for any children.
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR GENERATION X
Still biologically young, saving for twin goals of retirement and children’s college education, and maybe a wedding, too.
- Maximize your own contribution to the 401(k) plan and build retirement funds in a tax-efficient way.
- Think retirement first and college second; try to avoid shifting retirement savings for college funding.
- Protect your family with life insurance and disability insurance for both spouses with priority for the highest earner.
- See an attorney to write wills or revocable trust documents with both durable and health care power of attorneys.
- Avoid “lifestyle creep” as your earnings increase by trying to pay down debts or increase savings.
- Keep a liquid cash reserve of 6–12 months living expenses.
- Invest regularly and be aggressive with asset allocation as stock funds have historically outperformed fixed income and cash.
- About 50 percent of couples are divorced by now. Beware as it can be a financial disaster for everyone!
- Turn an inheritance into a wealthier future by consulting a financial advisor.
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR BABY BOOMERS
Nearing or in retirement, taking care of aging parents, planning for their estates, and spending their nest egg.
- Plan accordingly for the go-go, slow-go, and no-go phases of retirement. Retirement can last 30–40 years due to longer life expectancies.
- For those who qualify, a health savings account is a fantastic vehicle to help provide a kitty for future health care costs.
- A “decumulation” strategy of where to draw from and how much to draw is vital to not exhausting the nest egg.
- Avoid being too conservative by keeping some money in stock funds during retirement. A balanced allocation approach is an effective inflation hedge.
- If you have more assets than you need, consider spending the excess, making family gifts, or gifts to charity.
- Devote resources to planning your estate and the final distribution of your assets. If using trusts as part of your estate plan, consider naming a corporate trustee, like Trust Point, to ensure the goals are achieved.
- Plan appropriately for the possibility of becoming incapacitated in the no-go phase. Most people will require some form of long-term care for which Medicare is not a solution. A long-term care insurance policy might help.
- Look at all possible options regarding drawing Social Security benefits and try to delay benefits until at least normal retirement age.
At Trust Point, we are aware of the financial issues that can arise for each generation. Our clients are spread across most of the United States and span all generations, including seniors, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials, and younger. Our goal is to provide unbiased financial guidance to assist our clients regarding any long-term issue that might arise during their lifetime. We also commonly work well as a team with other non-Trust Point advisors on more complicated and sophisticated planning strategies for our clients. Our best advice is to start the conversation early to make the most of your investments and reach your financial goals.