From The Planner
Published Quarterly by the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts
Stephen P. Ahern, CPA/PFS, CFP®
We often hear our future clients, those members of Generations X and Y, claim their savings habits, notoriously poor, are due to realities out of their control. Current housing costs too expensive, student loans too high, and incomes too low are frequently cited as causes for their inability to save meaningfully.
Recent studies demonstrate that those anecdotes are symptomatic of a greater societal phenomenon. Despite making no contribution at all, they fully expect (93% of Gen Xers, 92% of Gen Y workers) that their company sponsored retirement savings plan will fund their retirement.
Ah, the beauty of youth. I had all this in the back of my mind when I read a review copy of Michael B. Rubin’s Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck (Wachtel & Martin, 2007) a few months ago. I believe part of our responsibility as Certified Financial Planner™ professionals is to educate the masses. Like many of you, the bulk of my practice focuses on clients who are considered by most standard measures to be among society’s upper class. Many of our clients don’t face the paycheck to paycheck issue. Yet I am still presented with basic financial questions from countless others from friends and family to those I meet through my community involvement and pro bono work. After reading Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, I now have a resource I can turn them on to with the confidence that my recommendation will make a difference.
Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck takes a unique approach in teaching basic personal finance to these increasingly skeptical generations. It presents a true conversation between the author, a Certified Financial Planner™ designee himself, and the reader, a typical 20- or 30-something. Over the periodic interruptions of Gary, a commission obsessed salesman, Rubin answers these questions through a straightforward and easy-reading dialogue. (If you know a guy whose priorities are more important than his client’s, then you’ve met Gary.) As important, Rubin provides objectively rational answers. With Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, the message comes through clearly.
Sure, sometimes the parents are ill equipped to provide a money education. Many of our boomer clients fret about this issue and are looking to us, their financial planners, for guidance. According to a study conducted by Age Wave, 52% of boomer respondents said the most valuable financial planning service you could provide would be “advice to help (my) children become more financially savvy.” First, the demands and relative priorities of our practices often restrict the time we have to plan let alone implement such a long-range strategy on a client-by-client basis. And if you do, how do you charge for your extremely limited and valuable time? We’re often unavoidably part of the wrong generation—simply by not being in their generation.
Consider enlisting the help of Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck. Let Rubin, the founder of financial education company Total Candor®, help you to get the message through with a Conversation About Income, Wealth, and the Steps in Between, the book’s sub-title.