And so it begins (The BCR Wealth Blog)
Welcome! Today is the first day of the BCRSM Wealth Blog. We have posted some of our most popular updates from the last few years below so that you can get a feel for some of our previous writing. Going forward, we will be posting a weekly commentary that you can access through our website, an RSS feed, or a monthly newsletter that will recap the month’s posts and any other important news. We have spent several months preparing and discussing exactly what our clients and friends ask about in order to make our blog as valuable as possible. Each contributor will address a different niche topic in his or her posts.
In today’s post, and in many of my future posts, I plan to focus the majority of my content on discussions relevant to high income earners who are members of Generations X and Y. I find that most items covered by the financial media today concern issues more relevant to Baby Boomers and Gen X/Yers whose income falls in the middle range. Certainly many of our future posts will cover issues relevant to these groups, as well, but since I find that high income Gen X/Yers are often underserved by the financial media, I plan to focus on discussions they will hopefully find particularly helpful and informative.
For members of Gen X/Y, a primary asset is time. Gen X/Yers have to make decisions quickly regarding whether they are getting value out of an activity. It takes several minutes to read a blog post, so I want to be certain that you are getting a worthwhile “profit” from investing your time to read my words. Therefore, my objective is to include at least one item of value in each blog post. If there are specific topics about which you have questions, please reach out to me and I will be glad to discuss them with you. They may make good topics for this series, as well.
Who are Gen X/Yers?
Generation X was born between the early 1960s and early 1980s. Generation Y was born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. While there are differences in the two generations, they tend to have a lot more in common with each other than with previous generations. Their parents are typically Baby Boomers or early members of Generation X. Both Generations X and Y have had their view of the investment landscape tainted by witnessing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. For Generation X, this experience makes them question the markets they saw when they first entered the labor market. Even worse, Generation Y was just coming of age when the Great Recession hit, so they hadn’t witnessed how markets have behaved historically at all.
Previous generations took for granted the notion that each generation would be better off than the one that preceded it. However, even before the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, numerous studies, including those conducted by the Heritage Foundation and the Brookings Institution, challenged this notion. Single-earner households weren’t uncommon in previous generations, particularly among wealthier members of previous generations; however, most Gen X/Y households have two earners. Another shift: projections show that during their lifetime millennial women will earn more than millennial men. We have also seen Gen X/Yers hold more jobs and careers throughout their lifetimes than previous generations as they try to find their place of contribution to the world. These changes have caused the lives of Gen X/Yers and their children’s lives to be more chaotic and in flux than previous generations. However, despite that chaos, and despite the typical dual-earner status of many Gen X/Y households, Gen X/Yers strive to provide the same attention and support to their children that they received from single-earner households.
I find the psychology of Gen X/Y particularly interesting. Data indicates that Gen X/Yers are more likely to delay many of the rites of passage into adulthood, such as marriage and parenthood, which previous generations sought more quickly. Whereas previous generations tended to define “adulthood” based on relationships (e.g., having a spouse, having children), Gen X/Yers are more likely to define “adulthood” by their own personal achievements (e.g., earning a degree) and simply by their chronological age. The reasons for these delays? As dual-earner households are now the accepted norm and women have gained more ground toward equal opportunity, Gen X/Yers tend to spend more time establishing themselves in their education and career before focusing on relationships. Gen X/Yers can also be gun-shy as they consider these important relationships. As children, Gen X/Yers witnessed climbing divorce rates and our parents’ dissatisfaction in their jobs. We want a different outcome for ourselves. Although Gen X/Yers tend to report that they do want marriage and children, they often feel trepidation about commitment. They want to get it right the first time.
Delaying marriage and family often leads to feelings of pressure for Gen X/Y. They tend to respond by pushing themselves to meet financial milestones more quickly. They are likely to purchase homes, expensive vehicles, or other items indicating success. Unfortunately, these purchases may come at the expense of saving early for needs they will have later in life.
As you read my posts, you will see that Gen X/Yers, particularly those with high income careers, have financial challenges that were not as prevalent in previous generations. These challenges include:
- Providing the lifestyle they want for their children and the rising costs of education;
- Having children later in life, which pushes financial expenses for education and goals such as retirement closer together;
- Increased life expectancy, which leads to additional burden as they care for aging parents and prepare for their own later years; lack of assistance from a decrease in pensions and impending changes to social security can remove the perceived base for retirement;
- Knowing how to select the right team of professionals that they can rely on to guide them towards success.
Thank you for investing your time to read this blog post. I hope you learned something new from it. I welcome your feedback!