Why more Americans should be talking about retirement

Photo: (c) Monkey Business/stock.adobe.com
Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have not properly saved for retirement.

■ Chronicle News Service

(StatePoint) More than half of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Baby Boomers have never given advice to their children about planning for retirement, according to a new study from North American Company for Life and Health Insurance.
One retirement industry leader says that this lack of discussion about money matters can have a big impact on the future of savings.
“Even when Americans are talking about retirement with their children, it’s clear from this study that their advice is vague,” said Ann Hughes, chief distribution officer. “The first step in helping the next generation succeed financially could come from simply, clearly sharing what you’ve learned from your mistakes.”
Baby Boomers reported spending money on things they didn’t need, going into too much debt and not saving for retirement when they were young. That’s not what they talked about with their kids, though, according to the study. And with even more Gen Xers saying they regret spending and accumulating debt than previous generations, they may be on course to repeat their parents’ mistakes.
Boomers and Gen Xers share similar financial fears, according to the study. About 66 percent of Baby Boomers admit they are concerned about outliving their retirement savings. Gen Xers are even more fearful – 77 percent report the same concern.
These fears may stem in part from the fact that many Gen Xers are getting squeezed – with nearly a fifth of this “sandwich” generation supporting their parents and 71 percent supporting children.
To ensure your savings can last a lifetime, start by assessing your current retirement strategy, including benefits such as Social Security and any other income streams. Then look at your future financial needs.
You may also wish to investigate options such as a fixed index annuity, which can help protect your nest egg from market volatility and generate steady lifetime income.
While the survey results suggest a growing participation in parents’ retirement planning, there is clearly room for improvement in communication on these subjects.
“All too often, money becomes a taboo topic or a source of embarrassment,” Hughes said. “Making time for these discussions can help encourage each generation to avoid making the same mistakes their parents did and plan better for the future.”

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