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Senior Perspective: What Seniors Wish Youngsters Knew about Money

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Have you ever played the mental game that starts out, “If only I knew then what I know now”? We suspect most if not all of us have looked back on various stages of our lives and said, “If only.” Whether it’s the jobs we took, the places we lived or the money we failed to save, as we get older, there are probably many things we wish we had known back then.

That’s why this article on the US News website caught our eye. It contains ten specific pieces of advice seniors would like to be able to tell younger people about finances. The subtitle says it all: “Here’s what seniors think younger generations should know about retirement.” We share this with you for two reasons: first, if you’re several years away from retirement, this information will prove helpful; and second, for those closer to (or already in) retirement, this article may encourage you to pass along some of your hard-earned wisdom to your children, grandchildren or younger acquaintances (if you can get them to listen, that is.)

We won’t list all of these ten financial tips here – you can read the article for the complete list – but here are several. See if you can relate to these words of Senior Wisdom.

The first piece of advice concerns education: learn finance and business early on. The US News article suggests that having some education in basic financial and business principles will help give you greater confidence as you save and invest. Too many of us go through our entire adulthood flying blind and making poor decisions as a result. This advice might be particularly helpful if a child or grandchild is heading for college and deciding on a major. But there are other good resources out there to teach you about money, and taking advantage of them early in life could be a wise idea. (Contact us here at AgingOptions if you would like some recommendations along this line.)

Two more of the things seniors would like to impart to the younger generations involve debt. Pay off your mortgage early, says US News, because being mortgage-free gives you much greater flexibility and less pressure as you age, especially if (as is common) you find yourself retiring earlier than planned. The second warning is to control credit card debt and car loans. Debt can be a huge impediment to your retirement dreams. We wrote an article about this debt burden very recently on our Blog, and you can click here to read it.

Here’s one more tip from the US News piece: when it comes to your work, follow your heart even if your paycheck suffers for it. (This idea goes hand in hand with the advice to control unnecessary spending and start saving early.) If you’re not cut out for a high-paying, high-pressure career, you shouldn’t feel compelled to pursue one. Instead, you may find great personal reward working for a non-profit, or owning your own small business. Indeed, we have many clients enjoying a comfortable (if not lavish) retirement who earned modest incomes doing work they loved. Many of these men and women are much happier and healthier than some who earned fatter paychecks doing work they really never enjoyed.

How can you make these principles work for you? The key, we suggest, is good advice. As you make choices affecting your retirement, whether you’re old, young or in between, you need a guide who can walk you through your many options and help you achieve the retirement you’ve been hoping for. Our approach goes far beyond financial planning: we also help ensure that your legal affairs are in order, your housing options well thought out, your health care needs provided for and your loved ones well-informed of your wishes. This comprehensive approach to retirement is called LifePlanning, and it’s our professional specialty here at AgingOptions. We would consider it a privilege to help you develop a LifePlan of your own.

To find out how this process works, and how life-transforming it can be, we invite you to attend a free LifePlanning Seminar soon. You’ll find a complete listing of dates and times on our Upcoming Events tab, where you can also register online for the seminar of your choosing. Feel free to call our office if we can assist you.

When you have a fully thought-out LifePlan in place, you’ll face the future with greater confidence than you ever thought possible. And you’ll be ready when the young people in your life start asking you for advice!

(originally reported at

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