Money Management & Retirement Planning Advice by Barry Unterbrink, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For Baby Boomers ('46 - '64)

Are Baby Boomers out of the woods yet?

What I mean by that is...has the baby boom generation (born 1946 to 1964) conducted themselves financially to be able to retire someday in a fashion better than their parents did?

I returned last week from an interesting 3-day financial conference in Topeka, Kansas that addressed many issues of importance to this generation, and thought it helpful to share this with you. A few of the findings from recent surveys:

* Baby boomers want a lot.
* They are concerned with lifestyle preservation.
* They do not like loss of control with things or money. Money controls the lifestyle.
* They are less likely to be charity-oriented.
* They may know a lot, but are unsure of their best choices for retirement savings.
* Guarantees are important to them: 71% feel a steady income is important.
* 69% value a guarantee of their principal when they near retirement.
* They are becoming more conservative...as is expected when we age.
* 32 percent would not invest any money in the stock market to fund their retirement.

* The average baby boomer's 401k account balance is just $58,000.
Whoa-only that much! Maybe boomers are living up to the survey results; live now, pay later. Of course it's unfair to place all boomers in this category, and a 401-k plan is most often not their only asset or investment/savings account.

What I found most interesting is that boomers did not know more about retirement savings and investments. Perhaps my view is skewed since I'm in the business, but I assumed they knew the basics of income planning, annuities, options, stocks, bonds, etc. The financial media and commercials make it seem so easy. "Open an account, trade free, make lots of "Mad Money", retire early". Well, lest I burst your bubble: managing and planning for retirement is tough work ... a moving target of decisions, taxes, employer miscues and incompetent HR guidance, etc. Throw investor emotions of fear and greed into the mix, and it's no wonder boomers and investors in general are like the deer blinded by the headlights before it gets run over.

Luckily, coming to the resuce are some very interesting products and services that can help ease the decision-making with your retirement money - guarantees on income and principal protection, offseting inflation risks and that can avoid other headaches if structured properly.

I'll save the details for my next blog, which should post in about a week or so.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

~Barry Unterbrink

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