Many from Generation X have quietly waited their turn in the shadow of Baby Boomers. But, the Millennials showed up on the scene and now they seem to get all the attention. Even the financial industry is leap frogging over Generation X by shifting their services to be attractive for Millennials with products like robo-advisors. This is unfortunate because many studies prove Generation X is the least prepared for retirement and many of the safety nets like company pensions and Social Security afforded to boomers are dwindling away. Despite the rough start and rocky road they have traveled, I think Gen X can still pull off a flawless financial finish.
People forget that Generation X was the first generation in masses to take on large student loan debt with the hope it would be worth the better paying job down the road. Unfortunately, many Xers entered the workforce at high unemployment rates in the eighties and early nineties. Lower wages forced many to stretch out their student loan payments over long periods of time, with some paying them off just in time to start funding their children’s college.
The path did not get much easier as our generation bought homes when mortgage interest rates were much higher than the today’s rates or at prices that peaked during the housing bubble. To add insult to injury, when Gen X finally did get to a point they felt they could invest, they experienced the dot.com bubble and great recession back-to-back. Most were positioned aggressively and watched their 401k balances plummet to half while their companies jettisoned pension benefits. With high debt, bad market experience, and pensions going away, no wonder Gen X is a skeptical bunch.
The increase of parent student loan debt is one example of how Generation X has placed high importance on raising their children. Now that Generation Xers are finding themselves empty nesters (hopefully) they are beginning to think about their own financial future. Unfortunately, some will find themselves behind where they thought they would be at this point. Many may have old partially vested pensions and 401ks they are not sure how to handle. Others don’t understand or trust the stock market, but know it is an important step to retirement. And, taxes seem like a daunting issue that many have given up.
What is the most important step for Gen X for a flawless finish? Find a qualified advisor you can understand and trust. Unlike Boomers and Millennials, generation Xers are much less likely to work with an advisor. The scars from their financial history make it hard for them to trust, but we can help with that.
Our firm is a qualified fee-only financial planning and investment management firm that works only for our clients and in their best interests. We combine quantitative techniques while understanding your unique needs to develop strategies to get you on track with your financial goals. We can help you find ways to enhance portfolio return, lower your taxes, and mitigate the risks you worry about.
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