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Best financial tips for baby boomers, Gen X, millennials & Gen Z

three generations in a family

As 2020 comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to readjust your money goals and find a way to set your future self up for success. We asked the experts what each generation should focus on as we head into the New Year, and their financial tips did not disappoint. 

If you’re unsure where to start with your money or just want to make sure that you’re on the right track, here are some reminders and recommendations from industry professionals, but before we launch into the tips, here’s a cheat sheet on the generations that make up each cohort, including generation names and age ranges.

  • Generation Z age range: 18 to 24
  • Young millennials (Generation Y) age range: 25 to 29
  • Millennials (Gen Y) age range: 30 to 39
  • Gen X age range: 40 to 55
  • Baby Boomers age range: 56 to 74
  • Seniors’ age range: 75+

Generation Z (born between 1997-2015)

Low angle view of group of teenagers standing in a huddle with their heads touching and looking at camera

Understand your employee benefits

As you enter the workforce or plan to shortly, it’s essential to take advantage of potential benefits. That way, you can gain the most value possible. Lauren Bringle of Self Financial says that in many cases, your paycheck isn’t the only financial benefit your company provides. Instead, Bringle goes on to say that there are sometimes less well-known job perks to watch for. “Understanding and utilizing your benefits could save you or make you thousands of dollars over time.”

“For example, does your employer offer a 401k or other retirement option? Do they provide a matching contribution? If so, contribute at least enough to get the full match, or you could be missing out on a big chunk of retirement savings.” Bringle says this is especially critical if you’re younger. Why? Compound interest, the money you earn on your investments, can add up over time. 

Start while you’re young

Stacy Caprio of Fiscal Nerd says that as far as financial tips go, it’s crucial to invest at a young age to reap the benefits when you’re older. “The earlier you put small amounts of money into investment vehicles, the more time it has to compound and start snowballing into huge amounts of money in a few decades.” The later you start to invest, the less time your money has to grow. Caprio encourages Generation Z to get an early start. 

Millennials (born between 1981-1996)

Friends drinking spritz at cocktail bar with face masks

Ensure you have protection

One crucial aspect to consider a part of your financial plan is to have the necessary insurance coverage. Isaiah Goodman of MoneyVerbs says that you should be sure that you have a safeguard for your hard-earned money. “If you were to become ill suddenly, do you have disability insurance? Is the coverage amount enough for you to continue to meet your obligations (in addition to possible medical bills)?” Goodman says that if you can’t confidently answer that question, you should review your current insurance policies. You can also meet with an advisor to confirm you have the right types and amounts of coverage for your individual goals.

It’s never too late to invest in the stock market

If you’re still not investing your money, Asher Rogovy of Magnifina says that it’s never too soon or too late to get your start. “Young investors may feel apprehensive because they are waiting for a good deal when markets fall,” says Rogovy. “The truth is, it’s impossible to time the market perfectly.” Instead, an excellent strategy to avoid missing out is to invest a set amount every month whether markets are up or down. He also suggests you stay disciplined. “Young investors have the benefit of time, and the stock market usually makes new highs within years of a previous top.”

Generation X (born between 1965 – 1980)

Mature Couple Sitting On Rug At Summer Garden Fete Taking Selfie On Mobile Phone

Get insurance at an affordable rate

With Generation X in their 40s and 50s, now is the time to consider term life insurance. Randy VanderVaate of Funeral Funds says that it is currently the best option for this generation. Why? Because they can still get high coverage amounts for a reasonable price. “This insurance money can be used to cover the mortgage, college education for their children, and allow their family to live the lifestyle they are accustomed to if the insured dies,” says VanderVaate. “Layering life insurance at this stage is recommended to save money on premiums.”

Consider health care costs in your retirement budget

Depending on your plans and whether you plan to live with family, opt for in-home health care or live in a retirement facility, consider adding these costs to your retirement plan. Anna Caldwell of Beyond Finance says that it’s always good to research options in your area and set up a particular account with funds allocated for that care. “Depending on the maturity of your retirement accounts, you can transfer funds to this account right away and assign a family member or family lawyer to act on your behalf,” says Caldwell. 

Baby boomers (born between 1946 – 1964)

Senior couple at home relaxing on couch watching TV and looking at tablet

Let your grown children fend for themselves

Although challenging, Ben Reynolds of Sure Dividend says the best financial tips for seniors is that you should never put your own financial well-being at stake to bail out your children. “They’re adults now, and they need to learn how to deal with tough situations,” says Reynolds.

Check in on your retirement portfolio

Now is the time to make sure your retirement savings are appropriately allocated and balanced. Brian Martucci of Money Crashers says that now that the market has recovered most of its early-year losses, it may be a good time to take some profits and rebalance toward fixed-income instruments as you approach retirement (or ease into it).

Regardless of your age, any of these financial tips can provide insight into what you should be thinking about. Particularly if you haven’t yet started to prepare for retirement or your financial future. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that being over-prepared isn’t always a bad thing. Instead, it can be a great relief.

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Alyssa Davies

Alyssa is an award-winning personal finance blogger and founder of MixedUpMoney.com. She writes about being a mom, overcoming personal debts, and how to get away with affording your ridiculously expensive latte habit. A new homeowner, Alyssa brings her real-life knowledge of the Canadian real estate market and smart money matters to this growing brand.