It’s not your imagination Generation X — the heat is being turned up with every candle added to your birthday cake. Let’s face it: reaching the big 5-0 is a major milestone. You’ve probably started a family, have an established career and may be looking forward to retirement. But did you know that there are three essential plans you may want to consider as you near age 50?
#1 A financial plan
How many of you can complete the following statement? “If you want something done right…” Go ahead, scream it out loud, “Do it yourself!” After all, your parents taught you how to be independent. After school, you did your homework, watched some MTV and prepared your dinner all before your parents got home.
Think about it - how much do you know about your finances? Are you saving enough for your retirement goals? Have you considered how much money it might take to fund your child’s higher education plans? What are you going to do with that old IRA-rollover? Is your portfolio properly diversified?
If you have any of these questions, it’s time to talk to a financial professional about establishing a plan. Don’t worry; they will be there to answer all of your questions. Go ahead and bring in those articles you’ve been collecting but haven’t found the time to read. They will be happy to sift through everything and help you develop a plan that is specific to you and your situation.
#2 An estate plan
As a proud member of the Gen X club, you’ve seen many changes: from the Cold War to post-Cold war, from a dial-up connection to high-speed wireless internet, and from the domination of the big three TV networks to live streaming services. Throughout your life, you’ve even seen successful companies with bright futures such as Eastman Kodak, Sears and Blockbuster go out of business in part because they didn’t have a plan for the future.
Don’t be one of the people who fail to plan for the future. We get it; nobody likes to think about getting old or worse yet, dying. But maybe the right time to think about your finances, possessions and family is while you are still young and healthy. As an Xer, it’s in your nature to have a backup plan for everything you do. An estate plan can be your backup plan to help protect your loved ones after you are no longer around. Don’t use your busy schedule as an excuse to put off planning until you’re richer or older, because this can create unintended consequences.
#3 An advanced care plan
As children, Xers were exposed to the world through the nonstop news cycle of CNN. You saw the institutions created by Traditionalists and improved upon by Baby Boomers get called into question. You probably remember the political corruption and scandals that took over newspaper headlines. You have seen business ethics deteriorate with the fall of Enron and WorldCom. The events you witnessed as a child have probably made you more skeptical of precisely who you can trust.
Don’t leave your most important asset, your health, in the hands of strangers. An advanced care plan is a document that ensures the health care treatment you receive is consistent with your wishes should you be unable to make your decisions or speak for yourself. Whether faced with acute, long-term or terminal illness or a serious injury, an advanced care plan can help improve your quality of life and provide clear directions for your loved ones to follow. Remember, this plan is for the “what ifs” that may occur across your entire lifespan, not just for older adults approaching the end of their lives.
Hitting the big 5-0 is a pivotal time; it’s crucial to have plans to protect your family and yourself. Partnering with a financial professional can help ensure you are prepared for all of life’s unexpected challenges.