Change is the one thing that we as baby boomers know a lot about. We have been instrumental in changing politics, education, technology and even the way we think. If there was any over riding themes from our generation it would be humanity and technology.
We have gone full circle in breaking away from the perceived norm to creating what we consider is the norm. Yet interesting enough we have also created several other issues that were not as prevalent in the prior generations. We now have a sandwiched in generational issue, such as having to take care of our parents and our children into our later years.
Change did come but at a cost. We look at our retirement accounts and realize most of us have not saved sufficiently to retire at or when we thought we could. We are the most generous generation that has given beyond the “hurt” threshold. Our humanity, our want to have world peace has never been greater than it is today. We have learned to not only adapt to change but to initiate it.
We as a generation invented the internet, launched people to the moon and back. We have survived the onslaught of assassinations of our most loved leaders. We as baby boomers know what sacrifice is and have to this day continued to sacrifice our children, give to our communities and change the way we communicate and function in society. Baby boomers have extended their life span 10-20 years at least by government statistics. Yet at the same hand we have failed to look into our personal futures to decide what we truly need to change for our individual selves.
It seems that no matter how or why we attempt to stay away from wars or conflicts certain governmental responses seem to be over reactive or a continuous repetition of the mindset of prior generations. Some baby boomers still have not learned the lesson of the past so are doomed to repeat it and thusly our own retirements suffer. We adapt or change what we are doing and find that we need to do more not less. We had the idea of world peace and technologies that would help extend our lives, a governmental system of support that would take us well into our retirements. Yet, we failed making it a necessity to work into our late 70s or 80s or simply never retire at all.
Change we must to offset the on coming issues that will leave us devastated with financial shortfalls. Do we invest in a market that will certainly capsize when the retirement draw downs come to a peak? Do we become more or less of what we truly can be? I believe that our generation is still very alive and very strong. Will our retirement be made of what we had dreamed or is it one that we be our worst nightmare?
As baby boomers how do we take care of our parents who are also living longer? Can we stop working and still afford to keep up their lifestyle as well as ours? I don’t believe that it is too late. We have options but within those options we need to start breaking through some of our beliefs that was impressed upon us from the generations that preceded us. Change is something that we as baby boomers learned to do well. We can approach this new set of issues from a different prospective. The main problem is not employing strategy; the problem is the ability to increase our awareness and to change our approach. This is a marker that now more ever before we must change our thinking about our future.
Future pacing is what we need to avail ourselves of. We need to learn more about how we change our thinking and follow through with a new way of doing things. We can not rely on the investments of the past and we can not believe that we will have employment to retirement. We have seen the downsizing, rightsizing and out sourcing of corporate America. We need to look to the future and adapt as baby boomers the appropriate response to the on coming events that will unfold over the next several years.
Retirement planning is not just the dollars and cents figures that it takes for us to continue the lifestyle that we have been accustomed to. It is more than that, our change must come from what we see in the future for ourselves and our families and yes for our nation. Our change must come from how we see ourselves, what we want to be, doing and have in our “twilight years.” Baby boomers once aware of issues that are upcoming which may vary for each of us, but those issues will not be going away anytime soon unless we take action to ensure that we have a future.
As baby boomers we have seen the bickering of the government agencies and bodies, over social security, health care and education. Whatever the final decisions that are made by our elected officials we know this much, the benefits will be simply a partial subsidy to our needs and wants. I don’t want to paint a bleak picture, because we have the power to change what we do and how we think. The current trends will either force us to work until we expire or shrink in the lifestyles that we have been accustomed to. Yet we do have more options than that and unless you have hundreds of thousand of dollars or millions in the bank now, you won’t be approached by investment bankers or brokers.
We have to change our thinking here. We need to create a retirement plan that will accommodate all the possible issues that may or will come up in the future. As baby boomers we have many times set new directions not only in our own lives but affected others in theirs. Our retirement strategy needs an overhaul. Plain and simple, the dollars and cents issue is very important we do live in a capitalist nation. Capital is what buys us our freedom to do what we want and when we want it. Our needs as baby boomer are different. Some of us want a quiet retirement, one without any real needs other than to have our homes paid for and our life made simply comfortable. That is a strategy that can be implemented by taking actions now to ensure that happens by simply calculating what we really need after we decide to retire. Some of us want the ability to continue to grow financially and have a life that we can do more than what we have done in the past. As baby boomers this will take some real work and we need to employ and implement longer term strategies that will exceed that which we already have saved or invested for at this time.
In either case on the above, even if you fall in the middle or not in range at all, we need to strategize what our future needs will be and how much will that costs us now and then. This is a matter of change, our parents had simple strategies such as work for one company, then retire and the pension plan along with social security will take care of the rest. Well I don’t believe that plan will work for more than 79.9 million of the 80 million baby boomers. Nope, I just don’t believe it.
To change our situation we must change our thinking and employ new strategies altogether. Imagine you are 62 and you are looking to retire in some sort of way. Then it happens, the investment start to lose money. Of course the brokers will not call you to advise that you need change your strategy unless you are one of top dogs. Remember Enron? I don’t recall brokers calling the pensioners and telling them they need to move the money into CDs or money markets do you? Yet the smart broker’s, laced their pockets with options by placing “puts” on Enron and became wealthy at everyone else’s expense.
One thing about change, sometimes when you are not aware of what you need to know, you will experience your own ignorance. Taking this example of Enron is one of the best. In most of the interviews, the people who were retired they didn’t realize that the company was failing until it was splattered all over the paper or when they simply stopped receiving checks. They didn’t know, well what you don’t know will hurt you. Ignorance is no excuse. I would believe that monitoring your retirement money would be one of the major things that you will keep track of. In this case too many people got hurt due to their own ignorance. Now, you may think that this is harsh, but it is the truth. The question is why did these people not monitor their investments? The answer is not because they didn’t know it is because they had a habit or pattern of thinking that corporations do not fail, though they have evidence to the contrary.
You may say there is no empirical evidence to substantiate the statement I have made above. Yet let me point out, if that is not the case then why were people snow balled into believing that this company was succeeding when the statistics showed they were failing? It was simply the belief from the preceding generations that the company you work in will supply your pensions and benefits way into the future. It was the paradigm or conditioning of the past. You may not believe it so finish these statements for me “you are in it for the long ____, buy low sell ____.” Now, you hear some other avenues of thought, such as place a stop loss at 5% or 10%. If you are a union member you don’t have control of your 401K or you may have partial control because they are managed by others. Some are good managers and some are not so good, either way they make money whether you lose it or not. As baby boomers we must change our thinking and expand our vision beyond our current retirement plans.
It is not all gloom and doom and we have the intelligence to look beyond what we have. We can change our thoughts as to what we want to see in our own future. Retirement now is not our goal, our goals is what will we do after we no longer need to work. Which begs the question will we retire in the lifestyle that we want or will we be forced to work beyond the span of time that we hoped for? I believe that we have options as baby boomers in that we do have money available or we can start to look into other possibilities that did not exist when our parents were working.
Let us entertain the idea, that we can establish multiple sources of income beyond our own pre-planned retirement income or funding. Let us look at the internet, investments, savings and even real estate. Now you may be saying where is all this money that would be needed to invest or to start up and operate all these things. Well again this is up to the individual and where he or she stands right now. The probability to generate additional sources of income that you control is going to be much more profitable than what any government subsidies will ever give you. It is to your advantage to start looking at these right now.
What is the cost of your mortgage? Will you be able to keep up with the future rate of inflation? Do you have enough to retire at 62 or 65? Is your 401K or IRA big enough to fund 10-20 years after you retire? Will you have to continue to work or return to work after you retire? As a baby boomer do have projects or plans you want to execute when you no longer have to work? Are you going to have to take a part time job during retirement? Is that what you really want to do?
We need to look at what we need to change. Let us look at our politicians. Now they don’t get one paycheck a week or month on doing their civil duty. They also make money on investments, giving speeches, sitting on the board of directors for different companies, writing books, campaign funding and list goes on. If you look at Trump and many of the different icons, they don’t make money from one source. Take Tony Robbins, who makes money from books, personal appearances, personal consulting, and from the different programs that he has ongoing.
In future pacing you may want to look at these models all around you. Even your own company unless it really specializes on one thing, you would see the multiple profits centers that they have. It is never just from one source. The only reason a person lives from one paycheck to another is because they are not aware that they can generate multiple paychecks from several sources of income. I wouldn’t say it would be easy, but with a definite plan it will be possible.
Now this is not all about money either. Money makes things easier but at the same time, it is also about you and what you want to do. In some cases, we may want to increase our skills, whether it is in
computers’ or art. Study is also a major part of your future. Most baby boomers have stopped the learning cycle, they will do some training maybe on software or some required educational updates, but no real intense study of any other discipline. In this day and age when a person graduates from college his education is out of date 18 months later.
What skill or new talent would you like to have? Is there some part of your past education you would like to know more about? Do you have a genuine interest is Finance, History, Psychology or Art? Do you have or want to go back to school? What are your goals? Do you have any goals? Do you want to achieve something in your life? Do you want to write the next great American Novel?
Baby boomers are not asleep to all these issues or desires. There is an awareness of these things, but some don’t confront them. As a life coach I see these issues pop up, they are all resolvable. They do take planning but before planning change is necessary. One has to change their view of their retirement years. It is so important that baby boomers take these things very seriously. It doesn’t mean that your life is bad, grim or anything like that it just means that you need to make decisions. You need to make them sooner rather than later.
It is my assumption that you want more of the good life. When will start? What are you willing to give or give up too appropriate the life that you want? Let me remind you that this is a process. You may not be able to change your life right now, but you can change its direction overnight. I believe you want to achieve the goals you had envisioned when you started your working career, but you won’t hit a target that you can not see.
We are the masters of change. We have created more breakthroughs in our generation than any other preceding one. We have the ability to do anything that we truly believe we can do. Don’t leave these unlimited possibilities on the table of life. Life has a way of rewarding those who think and change. Life also has a way of punishing those who don’t think and change. You decide.