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Nothing in the Universe can stop you from letting go and starting over. ~ G. Finley

You know how it goes with me – I hear something or get involved in a conversation and then it ends up here. Usually because it has been turning over in my head and eventually it just sort of tumbles out like doing a somersault. This is one of those times. I heard one young woman, about to graduate with a master’s degree in psychology, tell me that there had been no discussion in her family about how to save for retirement. That the general idea was to work until you got to an age where you would collect Social Security and that would be that. Interesting. Then another young woman told me that she too came from a culture where one did not speak of such things; the expectation was that the younger generation would take care of the older generation with ‘supplemental’ financial help provided by the money literally under the mattress.

A study done in 2012 by ING (an investment company) entitled “Retirement Revealed” found there are huge cultural differences in planning for retirement. Hispanics feel pretty unprepared and African-Americans not far behind in their feelings around the how to portion of retirement planning. Not surprisingly, this study was looking at the financial piece but it tells us a great deal about how the message about retirement planning as a whole is not being well discussed across a variety of possible barriers.

While I appreciate there are many different cultural expectations for the aging process in this day and age it is difficult to fathom how anyone could retire without a great deal of both financial and lifestyle planning. This quote may help put it all in perspective, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Care to guess who said that? None other than long time and highly regarded investor Warren Buffet. Buffett is well known for a variety of things including his belief that financial fortune does not come just because we want it to but rather because we plan for it.

So, I’m going to ask you to start with this question, “What cultural beliefs have informed my thinking around retirement planning?” Do you believe that you need to be financially responsible for your parents as they age? Do you believe that you will work until you die on the job? Did you get the message as a younger person that its rude to talk about these things? Is it your understanding that you have a job which will allow you to have a living pension? This is one of the few times I’m going to dip my toe into the waters of the financial seas because this isn’t about where to put your money so much as it is about the idea of putting your financial resources someplace; kind of like planting that tree for the future. Looking forward to hearing what you identify!

Wishing you the best for your week!

~ Lisa

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