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Generation X is Facing Uniquely Difficult Estate Planning Challenges

            According to a recent article published by Forbes.com, members of Generation X between the ages of 35 and 44 are currently struggling more than others with various financial difficulties. However, the Boomer generation is experiencing a lot of stress since its children and grandchildren are both now often asking for help to keep their debts paid.                                          Writer Erik Carter notes that while Millennials had not yet begun to accumulate much wealth before the recession hit, those belonging to Generation X “had the misfortune of starting their investing just as both [real estate and stock] markets were peaking. As a result . . . people between 35 and 44 saw a 59% decline in median household net worth between 2005 and 2010, the largest drop of all age groups.”  Stated differently, these Millenials are actually “44% poorer than their counterparts of the same age in 1984 according to a Pew Research Center study.”             Many in this beleaguered age group are being hit with these difficulties while still raising children and carrying significant mortgage payments.                                                                                     Here are some suggestions for those who fit into this group to try and follow as they try to weather today’s economy until at least more promising signs of improvement appear.

Suggestions for Millennials Trying to Stay Afloat

  • Create an effective estate plan and purchase adequate insurance right away. While many people are hoping the economy will continue to move forward and eventually shows signs of greater recovery, you need to make extremely conservative plans for your family now in case everything remains stagnant for much longer than expected;
  • Don’t ignore those who keep telling you to create and follow a monthly budget.  Always keep looking for ways to cut back on your expenses. If you don’t have a mortgage and have family members who are willing to let you move back in with them, give serious thought to their offer. Carefully review all of your spending habits for the past year as indicated either by your financial software programs or bank statements. See if you can anticipate some problems areas now and find new ways to save money;
  • Forget about going away on any longer vacations right now. It’s always wise to just postpone vacations when you’re hurting financially – so don’t give in to your more foolish impulses;
  • Try to renegotiate a more favorable mortgage interest rate. If you can’t obtain one, consider following local laws and maybe rent out a room or garage apartment in order to bring in some extra income. If your circumstances are dire, make an appointment with your estate planning attorney and find out if you must consider a “strategic default on your mortgage;”
  • Pay off your highest interest loans and credit cards as soon as you can afford to do so. Also, don’t keep charging necessities like food onto your credit cards if you can avoid it;
  • If you have the time or your spouse does, see if one of you can pick up at least one new part-time job for added income. Check to see if your child’s school can use some additional clerical help or look for part-time Internet work within your profession on a website like www.flexjobs.com.

 

Whatever you do, don’t give up hope. If you’re unemployed, see if you can find and join a job-hunting group to provide you with both practical and psychological support.  Tell everyone you know that you need a new job -- or a better paying one. Also, keep in mind that hard economic times have always come and gone in this country -- and you have every reason to believe that you’ll be like everyone else who will definitely survive their current difficulties.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia