Boomers Choose a New Approach to Life and Money

In terms of adult development theory, life after 50 is typically a pivotal stage when individuals rethink the direction their lives are taking, confront their own mortality, and dare to ask themselves, “Am I really happy?”  However, what distinguishes Baby Boomers from previous generations is that they wear their existential crisis on their sleeves.  Rather than indulging in a time of private reflection and silent suffering, Baby Boomers are forcing us to think about what mid-life and beyond should look like.

One thing is for sure, as they march en masse toward their retirement years, Boomers are also rejecting en masse any semblance of a stereotypical retirement lifestyle.  And, herein lies the problem.  Although Baby Boomers are crystal clear about what they don’t want, many are still unsure about what they do want.

Rising to the challenge is a new breed of financial advisor who is communicating to Boomers, “I feel your pain, and I’m here to help.”  These forward thinking professionals are pioneers in a trend of integrating financial planning and life planning—a “Wow, that makes sense!” approach to helping clients first clarify their values, passions, and priorities before talking about assets and net worth.  Rather than the traditional financial conversation focused on “more is better,” these unconventional financial planners are asking their clients, “What will bring your life meaning and purpose?”

For the Baby Boomer disillusioned with the results of “using my life to make money,” the opposite mind set of “using my money to make a life” is both liberating and compelling.  In fact, Lynne Twist, the author of The Soul of Money, believes this new perspective can be transformative:  “When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have.”

With renewed enthusiasm, Boomers come to see their lives as a second chance to grab the brass ring on the merry-go-round of life.  For them, retirement looms on the horizon, not as a respite from work, but as an opportunity to explore new arenas, stretch their comfort zones, and to find unique ways to give of themselves to their families and communities.

Baby Boomers have redefined every stage of their lives, and that will not change as they grow older.  Trend watcher Daniel Pink wrote, “Baby Boomers around the world—because of the stage of their lives and the size of their numbers—are nudging purpose closer to the cultural center.”  In fact, recent research has revealed that millions of Baby Boomers are choosing purpose driven work that addresses some of the world’s biggest challenges.

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