Fanny packs and knee-high socks with sandals straight out of grandpa’s summer wardrobe are making a come-back with hipsters. Whether you dare to don the pack yourself isn’t the point. It’s one of the rare instances that people across generations come together. More often, different generations can’t agree on trends. When they have different tastes in music, food, travel destinations, and politics, it only stands to reason that their financial priorities differ, too.
Just like you wouldn’t recommend a cruise of Alaska to a 20 year old traveller who wants to party, you wouldn’t suggest taking out personal loans to a Boomer who needs to consolidate debt before retirement. From Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomers, each generation has different attitudes and concerns regarding their finances. They each face unique economic and social issues that affect their ability to meet their goals.
Ultimately, however, they’re united in their need to prepare for the future. Whether that’s by paying off student debts or socking away money into a 401(k), each generation wants to save and spend responsibly. Take a look at these customized tips to see how each group can do just that.
The latest generation to have its financial coming of age, the Millennials, born 1982–1999, are an often criticized group, but a recent TD Bank study suggests we should hold our tongues. A large majority of Millennials (65%) believe they spend too much money — perhaps because they’ve read the endless news articles that say they do— and another 55% admit to wanting to know more about savings and investment opportunities. Experts say these results imply this generation isn’t as oblivious to finances as the media suggests.
One thing the news does have right is that this generation is facing an uncertain economy along with job market difficulties and crippling student debt. Financial advice should focus on tackling this debt while preparing for the future. Experts suggest Millennials start contributing to savings plans while they make their minimum payments against their loans. It doesn’t have to be huge sums of money at first. Time is on these young people’s side while compound interest adds up. Even $25 a month is worth it.
Since most Millennials are just starting to save, they simply haven’t put aside enough money to cover unexpected bills and repairs. Many of them will rely on financial assistance should an emergency happen. Until they build up their own safety net, this assistance may not come from typical sources like the country’s biggest banks, as conventional lenders take time to review applications and issue loans.
Direct lenders, on the other hand, have streamlined their practices to allow for a faster experience. Lenders like MoneyKey in particular have eliminated much of the red tape that typically slows down an application. By doing most of their business online, they can process and issues loans quickly, which is why Millennials are turning to fast-acting MoneyKey online payday loans when due dates demand action.
Before Millennials, there was Gen X: the misunderstood generation. Ignored to this day, this generation often feels marginalized, sandwiched between two great generations. It doesn’t help that Gen X spans between the years 1965–1981. With its members aged anywhere between 36 and 52, Gen X as it is now, spans many different financial profiles and priorities. Some are just building a career, while others are considering leaving it.
Since the majority of Gen Xers are in their peak earning years, financial advisors suggest this group create a dedicated savings plan. No small $25 contribution will cut it. Experts recommend as much as 30% of your gross income should go towards a savings plan. This sizeable chunk might strike fear into their hearts, but it’s necessary if you expect your retirement savings to last. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about 401(k)s or Roth 401(k)s and make sure your employer is making his or her fair share of contributions.
As the bookend to the Millennials, who are just entering the workforce, the majority of the Boomers are leaving it. Aged 53 to 71, Boomers should be thinking about retirement.
According to Experian.com, the average Boomer has $101, 951 in debt, from property, lines of credit, consumer debt, and personal lines of credit. Though they’re the prime age for retirement, these financial debts can put their ability to retire at risk. Many Americans are putting off retirement well into their 70s, if they haven’t put aside enough into a pension plan in their youth. For those Boomers still working, it’s critical that they cut down on debts, focusing on using their credit cards less. A financial advisor can also help you debt consolidations programs that eliminate debt faster.
For all Boomers, it’s critical to test how realistic their retirement plans are. Roughly three-quarters of Americans aren’t sure how much they need set aside in order to live out their old age comfortably. Experts recommend you have 10–12 times your income sitting in savings. If this isn’t something you have, it’s time to speak with an advisor to see how you can get there.
There may be few things every generation can agree upon, but preparing for the future is the ultimate goal regardless of when you were born. Luckily, you can customize your savings plan according to your lifestyle, so you’re better equipped to take on your generation’s unique goals.
Michael Sanduso lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.