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Better Money Decisions for Baby Boomers

Retirement means an entirely different thing to Baby Boomers than it did to our parents. Here are tips on saving wisely for retirement.

Fact: Money stresses people out.

It shouldn’t happen. Money has to do with what you want to do in your life. What can the money do for you?  What are your hopes, dreams, and goals?

Retirement means an entirely different thing to Baby Boomers as it did to our parents. Boomers have reinvented retirement as something that is much more active and vibrant. Many like to travel, others throw themselves into volunteer work and become activists, some spend more time with their family, etc.

Making better money decisions – What do we do?

If you’re still working, just continue saving.  There is a movement that discourages saving in 401K’s. Advisers rationalize this strategy by saying that fees are too high or fund choices are poor. Although that may be true, doesn’t it make more sense to be in some kind of forced savings plan, regardless?

If there is an employer match, you should take advantage of it because those are going away fast.

Baby Boomers who receive an inheritance from parents, spouses, have to be careful with what they do with it.  Some spend the money and then find themselves struggling as they get older.

Female clients often say talk about money confuses them. Male clients usually do not.  But guess what?  Men don’t know any more about money and investing than the women do.  The truth is, if your financial planner educates you, you’ll be fine.

There are ways to increase your income without spending money, especially online.  Some of the old excuses for not having income do not apply anymore.

Squirreling away your money and never having any fun is not good either. You want to spend time with the people who are important to you.  It comes down to your own definition of success.  It’s going to be different for every single person.

At the same time, your money has to sustain long life expectancy because more people are living longer

It’s important to strike a balance

That’s what making better money decisions is all about. It may sound dry but it’s worth it.

Unlike the old days, a financial plan may include sitting down with you to make better money decisions and to find out what’s important to you. Do you want to take that cruise? How long do you want to work? Do you want to be able to help your children with housing or with school?  Do you have elderly parents that you need to care for?  That’s the first level of the questions.

Then, concurrent to that or right afterward, you need to take a look at your resources. How much have you saved?  What are your assets?  They don’t include your house in assets because you have to live somewhere and as long as you are living there it isn’t an asset.

The conversation is a mix of logic and emotion.  Sometimes we have to tell people that they can’t take a cruise that year, but if they stay on track and keep saving they will be able to do so at a later date.

You have to factor in caregiving

Taking care of elderly parents is something most Baby Boomers deal with at some point and because life expectancy has been increasing, it makes it even more difficult.  Many live to be 90 and beyond.  You have to consider your parent’s long-term care as well as your own long-term care.  The expenses of caregiving can devastate families and cause family rifts.

What should you invest in?

We recommend investing in global stocks and bonds. It’s a mistake to invest only in big American stocks. Studies show you reduce your risk and increase your return over time if you are invested in a globally diversified portfolio of small stocks, large stocks, and short-term high-quality bonds.

You want to select high-quality companies that are not a high risk of servicing their debt.  Avoid junk bonds and high-yield bonds. They are very very risky.  They are called junk bonds for a reason. You want to focus on short-term (1-3 years – maybe 5-6 years) because most people can make an educated guess on where interest rates will be in the next year or two.  You can take some risks on the stock side because that’s how you stay ahead of inflation, historically.

Tips to get started if you haven’t invested yet

The more you have to invest the better.  Advise your children to start investing immediately.  If you are a Baby Boomer, you still have time.  If you are working in a job take advantage of whatever contribution you can make into your qualified retirement account at your job.  You will thank yourself years from now. Work as long as you can.

If you don’t have anything, and work freelance like the 2 Boomer Broads, try to make as much money as you can.

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