Is there Baby Boomer Apathy over their Retirement Nest Egg?

It’s seems there is deep seated apathy in Baby Boomers over their retirement nest eggs. Despite all the posts I have written on this blog there seems very little concern out there or at least any that is being expressed. This seems to be the only rational explanation. Every day there are new headlines about:

So why aren’t baby boomers making their presence felt?

Baby Boomers should be marching down the streets demanding that governments get control of the financial industry and insist on them putting in strategies that focus on

  • protecting our retirement nest eggs against large losses,
  • provided low, full and transparent fees and charges,
  • becoming financially responsible and eliminate the high risks trading of mutual fund stocks for high gains mentality,
  • and help baby boomers manage the draw down of their nest egg in retirement.

The apathy was highlighted to me this month in a particular way. Last week an article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney. It was written about me and my experience with a major Bank and their Wealth Management WRAP Account. On that day the statistics for this site spiked for Australian visitors.

One visit to my blog will show any baby boomer that protecting their nest egg especially during these volatile times is vital. It should be a wake-up call to get involved and to start asking hard question of their fund managers and financial planners. The feedback I got was virtually zero. although I do appreciate those who emailed me to thank me for the information they found useful on the blog.

Before the article appeared I was getting about 2 visitors a day from Australia. That is understandable because whilst my blog is all about protecting a nest egg in retirement and is universal, I have targeted the USA because I have a better chance of getting traffic to my blog.

On the 8th July 2008 I got approximately 150 visitors from Australia and about 200 the next day. I was hoping the article would get Baby Boomers to share this blog with their baby boomer friends. But as you can see that was not to be.

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I have two purposes for my blog. The first is to offer genuine free help and advice from research I do that can help baby boomers protect thousands of dollars of their nest egg from disappearing. Secondly if I offer value I hope to make some money off my blog.

There are probably much easier topics I could use as a blog to generate an income such as “Weight Loss for Baby Boomers” or similar niche. But I believe protecting our nest eggs in retirement should be our number one objective. After the experience I had with my wealth managers it became a mission more that anything else fro me.

So why are baby boomers so apathetic? Is it because the press seem to espouse the same rhetoric the financial “experts” say. One bad year is not too bad and you should just hang on for the long term is the official line. I have read very few articles in the press that even discuss the subject of baby boomers and their nest eggs and how they need to be protected in retirement. Failure to do this may result in the working population being hit with higher taxes and charges because baby boomer nest eggs will not last.

For a baby boomer any bad year if funds are in the stock market is tough on a nest egg that is being drawn down. It is even worse if it is the first year of your retirement.

Are baby boomer apathetic because they may be concerned about offending their financial managers by asking tough questions? I’m sure you’d think nothing of throwing out someone who came to your house and just settled into one of the rooms and made themselves at home. So why do you let the financial industry settle into living off your nest egg fund for 40 years and end up taking out more money than you do?

Or are they apathetic because they know their nest egg is much less than they can probably retire on anyway. Many baby boomers intend to keep working into their 60’s and 70’s. That may be unavoidable but at least put in place a strategy to protect your nest egg from further attacks from the wealth management industry.

Perhaps you’d like to read my post

22 Excuses why Baby Boomers fail to control their Nest Eggs in Retirement

Maybe some of you can comment …… ;0)

4 Responses to “Is there Baby Boomer Apathy over their Retirement Nest Egg?”

  1. Mick says:

    Hi David

    interesting question, interesting perspective on your behalf. I guess I can only answer from my own particular perspective, complete with it’s Australian slant in the current circumstances.

    The majority of Australian workers are subject to Super Guarantee legislation that sees compulsory contributions sent largely to ‘mega’ funds controlling billions of $’s in a continual river of money. Although we do have various options open to us to determine our own Superannuation choices, very few have the educational/financial background to determine what is an appropriate asset allocation choice (within out funds management) or indeed just what the heck an appropriate risk-profile we should subscribe to is…..it’s a whole new environment for us.

    The baby-boomer generation is the first to have to come to terms with this form of retirement funding (previously our parents just plain relied on the Old Age Pension from the ‘gummit’ to get them through, without having to make any definitive choices). ‘We’ are therefore ill-equiped (in the main) to understand just what our choices are, or how important those choices are to our future well-being in our retirement years. Leave aside the very specialist and Machiavellian gyrations of the stock-market…..even the so-called experts in this field are confused, what hope does the ordinary Joe/Joesephine have?

    We tend to trust that the financial ‘experts’ in charge of the super funds know what they are doing and that they will, by and large, get the best out of the market on our behalf, whatever that may be (what’s a bear and what’s a bull?). Whether that is misplaced trust is up for debate, but it’s easy to see where your opinion lies šŸ˜‰

    It’s not a question of baby-boomer apathy, it’s a question of baby-boomer innocence.

    The answer will be in education, not just for just the baby-boomers in a crash-course over the next few years, but teaching the younger generations about retirement issues as part of standard schooling caricula (whether or not they want to hear it, much like algebra in my time, it really has no relevance to the young ;-))

    Those issues should include such topics as asset allocation and asset classes, risk/reward profiles, management fees and their effects on retirement portfolios, stock-market gyrations, funds management as a profit-vehicle for the managers, et al.

    In the meantime, as before, we baby-boomers will be the catalyst for positive changes (despite how the following generations may tend to view us……I’m old, greying and proud, not useless and a property-owning parasite ;-))

    Maybe your frustration at percieved apathy by baby-boomers is misplaced, it ain’t apathy, it’s just plain innocent ignorance of the way things have changed and gradually morphed when it comes to retirement……keep up the good fight in trying to turn that situation around šŸ˜‰

    Regards – Mick

  2. admin says:

    Mick,

    I’d like to thank you for such a detailed comment.

    Whilst I do agree Baby Boomers are the first to have to provide for their own retirement, this has been going on for 20 years now. There is no shortage of information on superannuation, asset allocation, retirement planning and many other related topics. Much of this is free to access on the Internet and on this blog.

    I respectfully suggest that it is not baby boomer innocence that is the problem. That’s just another excuse for inaction. We are all adults and have probably faced many difficult situations in our lives. This is just another life situation, although a very important one.

    If it in not apathy then maybe it is laziness. I know it is appears hard and confusing. But you don’t have to know the financial stuff. Baby Boomers have years of experience being able to sort out the many things they are confronted with and have found reliable outside help with those problems they don’t understand.

    Choosing a financial planner by using questions I have listed on this site is just another process they need to go through. They need to take the first step and go from there.

    I’ve seen my friends’ eyes glaze over when I talk about the need to take action to protect their nest eggs. So I know the problems – initial interest, polite curiosity, questions, doubts, resignation, boredom and if I persist, annoyance. So I say very little now unless asked.

    Ignorance, apathy, innocence or even laziness are no excuse when you are 60, about to retire and are expected to look after yourself financially. Putting your faith in others who are living off your retirement money is a recipe for disaster too. This is what the financial industry is relying on to keep their high fees and charges.

    Just reducing the fees by 1% could save thousands of dollars off a nest egg. That money is better in a baby boomer’s pocket than their financial planners. You don’t have to understand high finance to haggle with someone over price.

    My thanks once again for commenting on my concerns over apathy in Baby Boomers. I wish more baby boomer’s would join in so we can really get some action going.

    Regards,

    David

  3. Peter Fowler says:

    Hi Mick & David

    I think all of the above is true but also the baby-boomer age group is busier these days than they have ever been in history and trying to come to grips with the complex management of their Super just doesn’t make the priority list (until it is too late!). They also believe that if they are paying a fee based Financial Planner why should they not take his advice!

    For the last 10 years I have traded stocks and but it is only since last November that I have realised that my Financial Planner looking after my nest egg has not been doing the job I thought he was doing. My stock trading experience was telling me to move to an “all cash” position in November 2007 and whilst I moved 25% to cash I was swayed by my Financial Planner to leave the rest and “ride it out”. Whilst I had difficulty understanding this approach I still thought he was the “professional” and I went along with him until a couple of months ago when I decided that I had had enough and I was not going to watch all my capital disappear in front of my eyes!

    I believe a lot of people have been caught in the same dilemma but if they have not had serious stock trading experience (with cash management , stop losses etc) it is really hard for them to go against their Financial Planner and the entire Finance Industry which is all saying “ride it out”.

    Ultimately it is the Finance Industry that is negligent and you really are left with the assumption that Financial Planners have very different drivers to the ones you thought they had! I think there are many baby-boomers who are currently asking their Financial Planner some hard questions but they need the support of blogsites like this to challenge the system and take control. So it is really important that you keep up the good work!

    Regards… Peter

  4. admin says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for your valuable comments. I do agree if we are paying for a service from our financial planners we should expect them to look after our nest egg. But their training and priorities are not in line with our needs especially in retirement.

    I see your own experience parallels my own. I was fortunate in not taking my financial planners advice and went completely into cash in November 2007.

    I appreciate your encouragement that I should continue this blog and baby boomers get control of their nest eggs.

    Thank you

    David

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