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.

With economic recovery on the horizon, we have the opportunity to keep our clients from getting thrust back to a place where basic needs are at risk. Through the use of our financial products, we can give boomers the tools to leave a legacy of promise and prosperity for future generations.

The MDRT Generational Financial Confidence Study, conducted by the Boomer Project, surveyed 1,800 adults of all ages to learn about their current attitudes when it comes to saving, investing and financial planning. The study found that more than half of those surveyed would use the services of a planner or advisor. That means that more than 35 million people are open to receiving help planning for their future.

This is our opportunity to bridge the generational gap and assist members of all generations to achieve their financial goals.

For more information on the Boomer Project report visit www.mdrt.org.