Every day, more than 10,000 people turn 40 and another 10,000 or so turn 50. While you have been called the most affluent and financially powerful generation in history, you are also the first American demographic segment in decades that is moving toward late career and retirement without traditional pension plans backing you up. You've been forced by government policy and workplace trends to go it alone, or nearly so, as you prepare financially for retirement. Without the corporate pension safety net that protected your parents and grandparents, it is important that you take responsibility for your own financial security.
In addition to its financial heft, your generation makes up a significant portion of the Sandwich Generation, which finds mid- and late-career adults raising children while caring for parents. The Sandwich Generation put off having children until their careers were firmly rooted and thriving, meaning you're far older than the new parents of a generation ago. At the same time, advances in health care are keeping your parents alive, though perhaps not in full health, far longer than their parents lived. You're more likely to be coping with financial challenges from two family generations — in an assisted-living residence, a dorm, or your home — as well as your own upkeep. Never has financial planning been more vitally important to Americans in their 40s and 50s than now.
New college curricula and the media are giving your kids a much broader financial education when they're young enough to take advantage of it. You can learn the same lessons, but your focus needs to be tighter and your plan must be executed more rigorously. Your time is shorter to accomplish with modern investment tools what your parents were given in the American workplace of most of the twentieth century. You're not alone, but it will take your individual initiative to go into retirement with the financial resources to let you accomplish your most cherished goals.
While traditional retirement remains the goal of many in their 40s and 50s, with its emphasis on leisure time and rewarding yourself for a career of hard work, this book approaches the question of retirement with the understanding that many of you are too intellectually and emotionally engaged in your life's work to cut it out of your life entirely. You'll find the discussions surrounding retirement in this book continually applied to the possibility of a “selective retirement” that enables you to customize your personalized balance of work, charitable involvement, and leisure in ways that your parents and grandparents wouldn't have recognized. Your generation is blazing new trails in defining retirement, just as it has in everything else it has touched.
Knowledge is, indeed, power. This book will help you uncover the unknowns that surround your late-career years: shifting social security benefits, career changes, building your retirement nest egg on your own without a secure pension, balancing your life with the demands of your kids, and caring for parents. You have a limited amount of time in your day, and this book gets directly to the most important points and gives you straightforward, actionable guidelines.
Whether you've been watching nervously from the financial sidelines or you feel comfortable with your money and want ideas on how to maximize your resources or you want to help a family member or friend gain control of his money, this book will simplify such complex topics as budgeting, investing, helping kids with money, and talking to parents about their finances. It's a holistic approach to healthy financial planning that, if you commit to it, we know will help you achieve your financial goals.