“They’re Just Trying to Win the Game of Life”. With a financially secure retirement as the endgame, how are the generations faring?
There are many ways to play, and, hopefully win in the game of Life, as Beth Pinkser, Reuters money editor, was recently reminded. She was playing the classic board game with her nearly eight year-old daughter. “She insists on not going to college,” Pinsker said in an interview with Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. “I always worry about that as a life choice. Is she trying to tell me something? Ten years from now will she fight me on going to college because she doesn’t think it’s worth it?”
Of course real life is anything but a game and college is just one of the pivotal questions people will face in the next 20 years, Pinsker said. “We didn’t question the decision (to go to college) when I was growing up. There was no choice. I grew up in a factory town and if you didn’t go to college, you worked in the factory. My kids are growing up in a day and age where if they don’t go to college maybe they design an app and become billionaires. Like they don’t see not going to college as this negative thing. They’re just trying to win the game of Life.”
With a financially secure retirement as the end game, how are the different generations faring? “Millennials in particular are not saving for retirement per se,” Pinsker said. “They are saving for a future project that’s going to assure them financial security. They are thinking as entrepreneurs. They want to invest in a business or some sort of life path that counts on them doing something. Some of them may (invest) in a business or in additional education. Or their money may go toward a house, which may end up being a good investment. I don’t think they are saving for traditional retirement vehicles that would replace the pensions their grandparents have.”
Gen Xers, who are in prime working years, are at an age where they are focused on their children, paying for college for their children or buying a house, Pinsker observed. “But they went through a double whammy of the dot.com bubble and the recession, so many just feel defeated. (They have the mindset that) no matter what happens the economy can tank because of forces beyond their control. You can be successful and still wind up on a bad situation.”
Whereas Millennials in the work force are cautious but optimistic that they have enough time to beat the system on their own, “Baby Boomers are retiring by the thousands every second,” Pinsker said. “For them, they have to have already done whatever it is they were going to do in terms of securing a successful retirement. They have their savings, and now they have to manage them.”
The bane of Baby Boomers, Pinsker offered, is that they have too much money in cash. “They are afraid of the market because they are too close to retirement to take any risks, but they are not making any money on cash right now and they have a long time left to live. “
Pinsker recommends that Baby Boomers not pull their money out of the market too soon. For those invested in a target date fund, which operates on a glide path that becomes more conservative the closer an investor gets to their retirement, it is recommended that they pick an end date farther off than the planned retirement date.
“If you pick a glide path that ends when you’re 60, and you’re going to live until 95, you need to be invested more aggressively,” Pinsker said. “When the fund ends, go into something else that’s more appropriate for you so you don’t pull the money out of the market too soon.”
To watch the complete interview with Beth Pinsker, visit
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.