As the Baby Boomer workforce faces retirement, personal debt will be a problem for many. Baby Boomers have earned the moniker “Sandwich Generation” as they are the first generation to face significant financial obligations for the previous generation as well as the future generation. Medical bills and assisted care for aging parents and skyrocketing education expenses are just a few examples of costs that will force a growing number of Baby Boomers to carry more debt into retirement. This debt will drain further an already underfunded retirement savings and force many Boomers to work longer or accept a lower standard of living.
The recession and weak economy have further hindered Baby Boomers in their quest to retire and enjoy the fruits of their lifetime of labor. 401K account balances have dwindled and have mockingly referred to as “201K’s”. On top of this, Social Security and Medicare will be going through many changes, which may further complicate future plans for Baby Boomers.
While most financial guides advocate the best way to prepare for retirement is to “save more money”, this advice is not particularly helpful or feasible for many Baby Boomers, given the financial realities they face. Neither are the traditional principles of curtailing spending or increasing earnings.
* Save More – If they could, they would. Baby Boomers are the most driven and successful generation in terms of goal attainment and focus; patronizing, irrelevant advice such as this is both unhelpful as well as irritating.
* Spend Less – This works only on discretionary spending and is not particularly applicable to health insurance, medicine and medical care spending which is significant and ongoing for Baby Boomers caring for aging parents.
* Earn More – With soaring unemployment, organizational downsizing and cost cutting, it is more and more difficult for Baby Boomers to find paycheck which will cover their expenses and financial obligations AND fund retirement.
Most Baby Boomers ascribe to traditional values of honoring financial obligations and payments to their creditors, resulting in a highly stressful juggling act. Adding to the stress of the situation is the self imposed isolation; most Baby Boomers are ashamed to acknowledge, discuss or seek help with their debt.
If you are a Baby Boomer and have nodded in agreement while reading this article, let me ask for a few more moments of your time. There is nothing dishonorable about obtaining advice and assistance to manage financial hardship. If you are the sole supporter of your family, seeking help is the smart and responsible decision rather than suffering alone, letting the stress of the situation wear you down both physically and mentally. Recall airline safety demonstrations- place your own emergency oxygen mask on first before assisting your dependents.
“I feel like I can breathe again”, many of my clients say after learning about the debt relief options available to them. Legitimate debt relief providers, such as licensed attorneys and non-profit organizations, can give the information, guidance and planning individuals in financial crisis need to end the spiral of mounting debt and move towards financial wellness. Baby Boomers, make happiness the main ingredient in the generational “sandwich” of your lives.