Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Money or Meaning More Important in Retirement?

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Young and old agree that meaning trumps money when it comes to leading the “good life.”

I get a lot of research across my desk that spells gloom and doom for future retirement prospects based primarily on the lack of adequate financial resources. True, retirement savings is pretty dismal for much of the population, though savings have picked up in the past two years.

 But this new research from MetLife Mature Market Institute paints a very different and hopeful picture of the future. 

The conclusion:  the recession has had a noticeable impact on people’s live, particularly in the financial areas.  But when it comes to meaning and purpose, the negative impact has been relatively modest. 

And as we move into retirement years, it is meaning and purpose that are prominent in defining “living the good life.” 

Meaning, closely associated with the importance of family and friends, remains the primary component of the Good Life for all age groups, despite instability in financial and other aspects of their life.  People plan to spend time with family and friends above all else, regardless of age. 

The study, done with Richard Leider, emphasizes that the people who achieve “living the good life” are those who focus and plan.  That gives them the resiliency to cope with negative “trigger” events –think recession, job loss –whatever their life stage or circumstances. 

The 45-74 year-olds in the studies who maintained a steady perspective on their “vision for the future and the “focus” on the ways to get there were able to weather the storm. 

The younger generations, maybe because things have been so financially challenging for them early on in their professional lives, hold very similar views about the importance of meaning and purpose in life.  Maybe the baby boomers have raised a thoughtful, less consumption focused generation than their own.

More food for thought from Leider: 

“The longevity revolution demands a new mindset and skills, not to mention courage.  As life expectancy continues to increase, Money, Medicine, Meaning and Place will become even more significant and challenging.  Yet those challenges can also be positive because they can lead to new points of view and knowledge essential to succeed in the future.” 

Or said another way – aging isn’t for sissies.


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