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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

What have boomers learned?

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“Despite their desire for a significantly better retirement lifestyle, most boomers are not following their parents’ example of financial discipline and are not taking the necessary steps to achieve their own lofty retirement goals.” That is one conclusion reached by a NAVA-sponsored study, “Generational Differences in Retirement Planning: Adult Children of Retired Parents.” So what are those necessary steps, according to boomers’ parents who have retired successfully? The three biggest are avoidance of credit card debt (81 percent), creation of an emergency fund (86 percent) and the ability to save enough for retirement (79 percent).

Boomers, it seems, have not taken many of their parents’ lessons to heart. Only 15 percent said retirement saving was the most important financial lesson they learned from their parents. And only 37 percent said they would be satisfied with their parents’ retirement lifestyle; 86 percent said they thought their lifestyle in retirement would be better than their parents.

Boomers are expecting a better retirement lifestyle despite not adhering to tried-and-true strategies:

  • Only 21 percent of the “me-generation” believe they have done an excellent job of retirement saving.
  • Only 44 percent say they have done even a good job of saving for retirement.
  • Just 32 percent say they have done an excellent job of creating an emergency fund.
  • Twenty-four percent fewer boomers say they have successfully avoided credit card debt, something their parents say is key to saving enough.

“It’s clear that many boomers can still learn a lot from their parents when it comes to preparing for retirement,” says Mathew Greenwald, president of Greenwald and Associates, the company that conducted the study. “However, many simply aren’t listening.”

For more from the study, visit


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