As Einstein once said, “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.” Experience, whether intentional scientific experiments or simply life lessons, is the best way to gain wisdom.
But we can certainly learn from one another’s experiences, can’t we? When it comes to financial lessons, younger generations would be smart to listen to Baby Boomers. Many have learned, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t work with regard to financial planning. The following four lessons represent things we can all learn from the older and wiser generation.
Avoid debt. Nearly a third of Boomers carry no debt! When your budget isn’t overwhelmed with credit card payments, it can be much easier to stay afloat and prepare for the future. For some, avoiding debt altogether is not possible, but certain debts like a mortgage can be acceptable. High-interest credit card bills, however, should be avoided as much as necessary.
Prepare for emergencies. When asked how they would cover an emergency expense, Boomers most often report that they would tap a savings account. Younger generations say they would be forced to whip out a credit card. But then, of course, the revolving high-interest payments greatly impact household budgets for years. By preparing for emergencies, you can avoid the need to take on large debts.
Plan for the near and distant future. When you’re young, it can be difficult to picture yourself as a retiree. While Millennials and Gen Z tend to plan only for the next few months, Baby Boomers have learned the importance of saving for the long haul.
No one ever complained of having saved too much for retirement! But you can certainly reach retirement age with inadequate savings, so get started now. And because of things like employer-matched contributions to retirement funds, early saving can make an enormous difference in your eventual retirement lifestyle.
Consult with an expert. Baby Boomers are more likely to report working with a financial advisor. Financial planning involves a lot more than paying your bills on time and stashing money in savings. By working with a financial professional, you can identify potential opportunities and take advantage of them in a timely manner. You can discover options that you didn’t even know existed.
On that note, give us a call, and together we can start planning for your future. It is never too early to prepare for retirement and anything else that life might bring your way.