I was born on the cusp between Generation X and Generation Y (a.k.a. the Millenials). As a member of the middle-child demographic recently dubbed Generation Catalano, I have some insight into how members of both of these generations view retirement. And I have to say, it isn’t pretty.
Pessimism and the American Dream
According to the results of a spring 2011 Gallup poll, confidence in the American dream is faltering. Defined by Gallup as the opportunity for each generation to earn a better life than previous generations, the data show that indeed, the American dream appears to be slipping away.
An idealized retirement story might sound like this: Saving for years, retiring from work, then taking planned withdrawals on through retirement. It sounds orderly and easy, yet many retirees know it is anything but.
Emergencies arise, not only in a retiree’s life, but also in the lives of loved ones. Ordinary life includes a leaky roof, a needy middle-aged son or daughter, or a troubled grandchild. If retirees have savings, even if they rely on them for monthly living, there is the ever-present urge to liquidate savings and put some money on the problem.
An Ugly Trick
There is an ugly trick with the urge to be generous, and it’s subtle.