Why Early-Career Professionals Will Thrive After the Pandemic
Jeremy Suschak, CFP®
The pandemic’s devastating impact has inspired America’s largest and most diverse generation. For those of us identified as being Gen Y “Millennial”, or Gen X, the past 18 months have likely been the most consequential in our adult lives. We’ve considered and reconsidered nearly everything, from where and how we work, to where and how we live.
From a financial perspective, COVID’s shut down of our economy was the first time that we personally had to navigate a stock market crash. The last time the market had such a decline, in 2008, it was largely our parents’ issue. At least I had no savings of consequence.
This crash did impact our personal finances. We saw our investments shrink, our 401(k) statements decline, and our high trajectory careers threatened. But after the 2020 shutdown, we learned a few valuable lessons: the importance of goal setting, managing personal priorities, and staying invested, in all elements of our lives.
Today I am seeing an increased and reinvigorated focus by our DBR Next clients on the long-term. Towards retirement, risk management, and solidifying their wealth building foundations for the coming decades. There is a renewed emphasis on savings and accumulating earnings, versus the spend-now mindset. Few things amplify the importance of an emergency fund more than an unforeseen event like COVID-19.
The pandemic’s other social and financial impacts highlight the value of having a detailed financial planning ex ante. As we witnessed, the world and our lives can change on a moment’s notice. Having a thorough plan in place for unexpected challenges can add (or save) meaningfully for one’s financial position.
Many in this cohort have taken the requisite steps. Those that started discussing debt management and early investment strategies, now have 529 education savings plans for their children, 401(k)s for their retirements, short term savings accounts for emergency spending, tax-advantaged accounts for additional investments, and estate plans and insurance for their families.
Financial success, though, may require greater education and emphasis on investment allocation. According to a recent survey by Clutch, 88% of Next Genners are currently investing money, citing a motivation to plan for the future, and 45% of millennials stated that retirement was the top reason they were investing and saving. In contrast, nearly half of those over the age of 55 have zero retirement savings.
Only 55% of next generation investors, however, feel confident in their own money management skills. While we must be commended for our preparation, greater sophistication is likely necessary as we enter our prime earning years and as our lives become more complex.
We have built robust foundations for financial, personal, and professional growth - rising in the ranks at work, starting businesses, and at our growing homes. Filled with a burning desire to pursue the best for ourselves and our families, our focus on the future is inspiring. With thoughtful planning, strong financial habits and time on our side, we are ready to assume our place in leading the next great expansion.
Thanks for reading,
Jeremy Suschak, CFP®
Managing Director, DBR Next
Jeremy Suschak, CFP® is a Financial Advisor at DBR & CO, a Pittsburgh-based wealth management firm. If you would like to contact the author, please e-mail him at email@example.com or call 412-227-2800.
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