Boomer Financial Advice to Ditch
It's easy to dish out what you might think is great financial advice if you're from the boomer generation — the most recent generation to accumulate copious amounts of wealth compared to others.
But does the financial advice of this aging generation still hold up today?
Many believe the American dream is dead, and in many ways this is true. So it may be time to take part in the adolescent practice of "ignoring our parents" and ditch the financial advice of boomers — especially if that advice sounds something like this:
"Pay your mortgage off as soon as possible"
Baby Boomer GIF by MOST EXPENSIVESTGiphy
For most boomers, paying off their mortgage as soon as feasible was sound advice at some point, but that's probably not the case today. Mortgage rates in the '80s and '90s were well over 10%, but the average rate in the past decade hasn't even gone above 5%.
It makes much more sense in today's world for homeowners with low-interest rates to consider investing that extra money or paying on higher interest debt.
"Don't discuss your finances with others"
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Americans have always been discreet about money, and it has long been taboo to discuss finances with others, especially in the workplace.
"How much do you make" is often interpreted as "how much is your worth," and the correlation of pay and a person's value makes it awkward for many to discuss their finances. However, the norm of keeping one's salary secret has only led to an increased wage gap in America.
There is no reason that sharing salary information with coworkers shouldn't happen. After all, it may just land you a higher salary. And if you're ever told by an employer not to discuss salary with co-workers, you can refer them to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which makes it unlawful for private sector employers to prohibit employees from discussing their pay.
"Get a college degree if you want to make good money"
Season 4 Michael GIF by The OfficeGiphy
College isn't always a good investment anymore. With the college wealth premium — that is, the additional income earned by a family whose head of household has a college degree compared to that of a similar family head of household who does not have a degree — has been on a steady decline over recent decades, proving that college degrees don't necessarily ensure higher pay anymore.
The average cost of college has risen 3009% since the 1960's.
College was a completely different ball game when the majority of baby boomers attended. In 1970, the average college tuition came to what would now be $1,653. Today, that number is closer to $25,000.
To further debunk the myth that a degree amounts to more wealth, the skyrocketing price to attend college alone can often make a degree a bad investment. Many boomers were able to pay for entire degrees with the money made at part time jobs. With the average modern college student accumulating upwards of $40,000 in debt, the days of being able to pay for college with your own income are long gone for most individuals.
"Stay loyal to your job, and you will be rewarded"
Work Hard Hang In There GIF by Discovery CanadaGiphy
According to a Linkedin study, boomers report being significantly more satisfied and loyal to their employers than Gen X and Millennials; but a look at the change in the workplace might unveil the reasons why younger generations are more likely to switch jobs.
Pension plans, or retirement plans in which an employer makes contributions set aside for employees to collect after they retire are almost entirely a thing of the past. With this type of plan, often referred to as defined benefit plans, the employer is the sole contributor to the retirement accounts, unlike the common retirement plans today such as 401ks, in which the employee themselves must make contributions. Today, only about 4% of private-sector employers offer pensions to their employees.Along with diminishing retirement incentives, the lack of benefits and rising costs of employer-sponsored healthcare also play a factor into job loyalty. Since 1998, the percent of workers offered employer-sponsored coverage has been on the decline.
"Homeownership is the path to wealth"
Boomers GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Any boomer will tell you that the first thing to invest in is homeownership. In fact, the baby boomer generation believed in this advice so much that they now own more than 80% of housing wealth in the US.
A recent study found that from 1983 to 2013, housing wealth increased almost entirely within the baby boomer and older generations. Urban boomers have highly influenced the increase of homeownership pricing due in large part to restricting housing supplies. For example, most neighborhood councils and homeowners associations are made up of boomers, who impose strict building requirements that raise the prices of homes and make affordable housing scarce.
Younger generations are left with few options, either having to often take out mortgages they truly can't afford, or continue to rent. And if the 2008 crash taught us anything, homeownership can be a very risky investment.
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.