Some Generations Better Than Others on Money Management

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Some age groups are better than others in managing their money.

Why the dichotomy? And what lessons can, for instance, baby boomers learn from Millennials?

Financial Finesse, an El Segundo, Calif.-based financial wellness services firm, has taken a microscope to the issue and finds that different generations have different strategies for managing their money on a “tough and very uncertain” economy.

Sometimes those differences work out for generational savers, and sometimes they don’t.

“When you look at the generational groups as a whole, you recognize that they are really dealing with issues stemming from perspectives and habits rooted in their generations,” says Liz Davidson, chief executive at Financial Finesse. “Millennials entered the workforce during a time when it was ‘cool’ to be thrifty, Gen Xers lived in the shadow of the boomers and have a generally cynical attitude toward achieving their goals, and boomers – both late and early – are part of a generation that had everything tailored to their needs. This really creates a different set of issues as a result for each group.”

Davidson points not just at demographic groups who have done a mediocre job of managing their money, but at the financial services industry. She says investment firms focus on “a more analytical and technical perspective” to financial planning when they should be focusing on where financial consumers are in their lives and how those “life stages” affect their attitudes about money and saving.

That oversight may have really cost the baby boomer generation and could threaten the financial well-being of their kids and grandkids.

“There has been a lot of emphasis on the significant challenges facing boomers when it comes to retirement,” Davidson says. “Namely that more and more employees in this generation are being forced to delay retirement or, worse, are having to retire for health reasons with insufficient savings. But not enough emphasis has been placed on younger generations who are already struggling more than boomers did at their age, due to the recession.”