Start the Conversation on Financial Insecurity
It is time to start the conversation on the financial insecurity of the baby boomer generation.
We recently published 2 blog posts about financial insecurity during the 2nd half of life. Here are links to the posts so you can review them:
- Financial Insecurity in the 2nd Half of Life [Survey] – Career Pivot http://bit.ly/1rD1F0x
- Are Baby Boomers Suffering From Financial Shame? – Career Pivot http://bit.ly/1Y3ZIXa
Both posts talk about how many baby boomers will potentially retire with little or no savings and have to rely mostly on social security. There are many reasons why baby boomers are in this situation. It can be because of being laid off, long-term unemployment, medical bills/illness, and divorce just, to name a few.
Baby boomers were taught to avoid talking about finances, let alone open up to others about their struggles. Most have tried very hard to keep up appearances that they are doing fine when perhaps they are not.
Maybe it is time to get the conversation about money started!
We published a survey asking for comments about your financial insecurity, and here are the results.
How would you pay for a $400 emergency?
The survey shows that 87% of the people who responded said they could cover a $400 emergency. They would take this money from savings or use a credit card.
I am curious how long it would take the credit card folks to pay back $400 if they did, in fact, use it for their emergency.
Does the person really have the money to handle this emergency?
Are they using the credit card as a stop gap for the emergency?
And, if they didn’t have access to a credit card to use to pay the bill, do they really belong to the categories of “sell something to come up with the money” or “unable to pay it?”
Why don’t you have more savings?
Of the 101 people that responded to our survey overall, we only received nine people who answered our second question of why they didn’t have more savings. Most said that they didn’t make enough to save money, or they responded by saying the Great Recession impacted their savings.
The other two potential responses, “I never got around to it” and “I was paying for my kid’s college,” didn’t receive any responses. We received “other responses” from people who said that they were impacted by divorce, bankruptcy, health issues, laid off, or didn’t use their money wisely. This is why they didn’t have savings available for the $400 emergency.
Do you know someone who could not afford to pay for a $400 emergency?
Our third question asked if you knew of anyone that would be unable to handle a $400 emergency, and an overwhelming number said yes. Is the person that can’t handle the $400 emergency really someone else, or is it ourselves? Are we afraid to have the conversation with our family or friends to let them know that we don’t have $400 for an emergency?
Starting the Conversation
Money is tied to emotions and self-esteem. We first learned about money when we were growing up.
Was money discussed in our families?
Were we taught how to manage it, or was it left as the responsibility of someone else?
If you add the cultural aspect to the weight of emotions and self-esteem, money is a real hot-button for many people.
How each one of us earns, saves, or spends our money is a reflection of who we are. One person may spend their money on a luxury item or service, while another person might see that expense as being wasteful. It all depends on what each person values. This is a big factor in the conversation about money.
Some people are forced to manage money better because life events require them to step up and take control of it. This can be a trial by fire experience that requires them to learn quickly in order to stay on stable ground as they move through life transitions.
Financial insecurity during the 2nd half of life should be a catalyst for starting conversations about managing money.
Are you ready to join in?
Check out past Career Pivot survey results here.
This post was written by Elizabeth Rabaey, a Baby Boomer herself, is a creative with a love for details. She has spent over 20 plus years working for environmental engineering and consulting companies providing project management and technical assistance on many innovative engineering projects. She has applied creative, literary and scientific skills to these projects to help the client maintain a profitable business operation and protect humans, health, and the environment. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.