I was reading through the pieces in this issue when I became quite engrossed with Shane’s recap of Suze Orman’s financial advice for young fabulous people. I yelled over the cube wall something like, “You don’t have this book yet, do you? Because I just ordered us each a copy.” Because that’s what people who need financial help do: we pull out our Amazon app and order a few copies of a financial assistance book. Done. Problems solved.
Sure, there’s over a decade of life between my age and Shane’s, but I’m still young and fabulous at 37, according to Orman. And we listen to her. Because she’s Suze Orman. But, I’d also argue that finances is a topic where people have a definite and legitimate likelihood for having a case of arrested development. More than just a TV show with awesome quips and actors, arrested development means that we stopped maturing in an area at a certain point. So, based on where we stopped our financial development, we could be in our 30s, 40s, 50s, and older with the financial knowledge of a 20-something, but with varying outlooks and levels of optimism due to having a shorter future ahead of us.
There’s a certain amount of merit to put into the differences between generations, and plenty to disregard. The Millennials catch a lot of flak about seeming irresponsible or flighty, the Baby Boomers are going to bankrupt us, and the Gen Xers are still suspicious of everything, probably wishing we were all still chain-smoking. I can’t predict the future, but I do know that not having our financial ducks in a row doesn’t do any generation any favors. Being part of the later end of Gen X, and having been jobless during my career arc, I know what it’s like to cash out a 401K to use it for living expenses. Many of us who’ve been jobless, no matter which generation, are likely always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and rarely feel optimism…let alone financial optimism. So, the ability to not only be financially solvent from day to day, but also put away for the future again, is not one that I take lightly, or have fully realized, yet.
If you would have told me back when I was flagrantly spending money just after college that I’d someday take great pride in charitable giving and setting aside money for my future, I would’ve assumed that I had somehow married rich. But, those of us who are single particularly need to pay attention to what our golden years will entail because, even if we want to, we won’t be able to work and draw income forever. We need to be our own versions of marrying rich. Enough of the willful ignorance. That I’ll be healthy and able to draw an income for a job well done forever is delusional. Luckily, any start is a good start in financial planning. There is no damning “too late.” Reading the pieces in this issue about what kids mean to our pocketbooks, estate planning, and the effects of illness, really have me converted to the belief that I need to take what Shane and Suze are saying to heart and can build my own dang financial future.
It’s going to take some time and effort and money, but it’s like working toward anything else we want in life. And it, of all things, will be worth it.
With you and with thanks,