First Person: Confession of a Baby Boomer

Yahoo Contributor Network

Growing up as a Baby Boomer meant living through fun, carefree, yet turbulent times. Many Baby Boomer children may have listened in during discussions between their parents about the house payment, retirement fund, how the investments were doing and the "nest egg." Teaching children about financial security by encouraging early savings and taking advantage of benefits at work, that would certainly guarantee a financially stable future all the way into retirement, may have been common in many households.

But for those of us who lived in a home where "getting by" meant just exactly that, the weekly paycheck was all the "benefit" there was. Some parents of Baby Boomer children had nothing to save, nothing to invest in and no retirement fund to teach their children about. In other cases, perhaps parents simply never took advantage.

My financial regret haunts me. I entered into adulthood and even had a family without ever hearing terms such as "401k," and no idea how to plan for my future financially. What was even worse is that I followed in the inexperienced footsteps of my parents. Worse yet is that I am college educated but still had no financial knowledge. I did not know which way to turn to find out anything about financially preparing for later life, so I didn't.

As some Baby Boomers settle into an enjoyable retirement, I am one of the other Baby Boomers. There is no retirement, not even a burial plan. For Baby Boomers like myself who followed that popular song of the mid-1960s, "Let's Live for Today," by the Grass Roots, what a mistake it may have been to let the title be a motto, only living for "today." I learned all too late that if you do not take the necessary steps to learn about financial planning as early as possible, it can be a disaster that will undoubtedly be regretted.

The fact that your family never had much and so no one taught you about finances is no excuse. If I had the opportunity to turn back time, it would be to learn all I could. Whether it would take enrolling in a class or humbling myself to ask friends what to do in spite of fear of being laughed at and ridiculed, I would go back and change my decision to not become better informed.

Some Baby Boomers may still have the opportunity to correct some of the financial mistakes made because of lack of knowledge and direction that was part of everyday life in some other Baby Boomer households. Perhaps the financial regret to not become more educated and be able to reap that "nice little nest egg" will encourage other Baby Boomers in my situation to educate their grown children and young grandchildren on the importance of becoming financially secure, as I am now doing.

There are most likely many other Baby Boomers like myself, suffering in silence. Perhaps they also feel embarrassed, "stupid," even. But sharing financial regrets made as a Baby Boomer may help raise awareness so our children and grandchildren will be better prepared and will not suffer the same financial regret.

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