I recently heard Dr. Lowell Catlett, a regent’s professor, dean and chief administrative officer at New Mexico State University, speak about the current state of the economy. He referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how, looking back and looking ahead, that famous psychological theory has helped dictate the legacy we leave for future generations.
Our grandparents and some of our parents belong to the Greatest Generation, born at a time when you truly had to worry about providing for the basic needs of survival. They saved money in tin cans under their mattresses to help ensure they had an emergency fund if the unexpected occurred. This generation practiced saving a little here and there, with the hope of doing better for the next generation–something we should all be doing today.
The World War II generation built and sustained wealth, so we did not need to worry about the first two or three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. Because of that legacy, as boomers, our main concerns are those of self-actualization. We are responsible for creating many of the things we now take for granted because we are the largest generation to attend college. Today, we don’t use tin cans because we can rely on credit cards should we get into a jam, even though it may not be the best financial decision.
Just as it did during the Great Depression, the economy has completely changed the landscape of our country. The Silent Generation got out of bed each day and worked hard to survive and provide for us boomers. What legacy are we leaving for the next generation? As trusted financial advisors, our clients rely on us to ensure their “tin cans” are safe.