What do an Internet connection, weekend gateways, professional haircuts and hair coloring, and shopping for birthdays and special occasions have in common?
They're all considered basic needs rather than luxuries by many Baby Boomers, in some cases the majority among a group of 1,049 working Americans ages 45 to 65 who participated in a recent survey by
"We have clearly expanded beyond the three traditionally thought-of necessities" of food, clothing and shelter, said
The item chosen as the top need among a list of choices offered in the survey was health care coverage (I agree that's a need). The No. 2 need was having an Internet connection (working from home, I agree also), followed by shopping for birthdays and special occasions, and pet care (if I had a pet I might agree).
Other top needs as defined by about half the Boomers surveyed included family vacations and getaways, professional elder care or home aid, professional haircuts and coloring, and funding children's and grandchildren's education. (I would prefer to call these "nice things to have or do" rather than needs.)
"Things that were once considered luxuries are more likely to be considered basic needs" by many, Leung said, including housekeepers, lawn service and club memberships.
That's well and good, but I wonder whether Boomers' wishes are grounded in reality. For example, although 74 percent of Boomers picked health care costs as their first or second greatest anticipated cost in retirement, 41 percent acknowledge they're doing nothing specific to save for health care. Most Boomers say they are willing to cut back now to enjoy a better retirement but many find it difficult to give up things most of them do consider luxuries, such as traveling, dining out and keeping up with technology.
But something must go when the things you say you need cost more than what you have. I have only anecdotal evidence, but, in the midst of an uncertain economy, my reader mail suggests a growing sense of apprehension among Boomers who realize they won't have nearly enough savings to retire.
To them -- and to all -- I offer these excellent suggestions from
For starters, every dollar of spending had to be accounted for, just like a business keeps receipts.
Any major purchase had to go on a "wish list" first. You could have only one item on the wish list at a time and you had to wait at least 30 days to buy it. In other words, you could not buy a new television set just because there was a special sale (My comment: I am sure there will be other special sales.)
Also, any major purchase had to be thought of in terms of how many hours of net take-home pay it would take to pay for it. For example, if a new large-screen television set sells for
My comment: Follow these habits faithfully, and you will meet (and perhaps redefine) your needs.
Available at Amazon.com:
- How to Tell if You Have a Good 401k Plan
- Insurance for Boomerang Kids
- Boomers Take On 'Necessities' May Not Be Grounded in Reality
- Avoid IRA Tax Pitfalls
- New Rules Slash Credit Card Fees
- More Consumer Protections on Bank Overdrafts May Be Coming
- Most Okay With Higher Social Security Taxes
- How to Retire Gradually
- Plan Ahead For a Comfortable & Potentially Rich Retirement
- To Understand Your 401K Plan Just Focus on the Fees
- Buying Coupons for Deep Discounts Carries Risk
- How New FTC Rules for Debt-Settlement Firms May Protect You
- 529 College Plans Not Completely Trouble-Free
- New Website Helps You Navigate Health Insurance
- Prepare For the Rising Cost of Long-Term Care
- How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?
- The Great College Scholarship Scramble
- The New High-Risk Health Insurance Pool: Common Questions
- Misunderstandings Rampant on Health Care Reform & Medicare
- How to Talk to Your Parents About the Estate Tax
- Should Young People See a Financial Planner?
- 10 Ways to Ruin Your Retirement
- Understanding the Psychology of Retirement Planning
- Five-Year Rule for Roth IRA Withdrawals: A Primer
- Hard Times Triggering Spike in Consumer Fraud
- New Sites Empower Students to Build Their Own Scholarships
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About Social Security
- Costly 'Add-On' Insurance More About Profits Than Benefits
- Teaching Your Child Money Habits for Life
- Retirement Living Decisions Don't Require Hand-Wringing
- Sears Brings Back the Christmas Club
- Will You Run Out of Money Before You Run Out of Years?
- Best and Worst Places to Build a Nest Egg
- 21 Ways to Make Extra Money in Retirement
- Do You Trust Financial Services Companies? Trust Index Says Not So Much
- Don't Be Intimidated by Medicare Labyrinth of Letters
- 2010: Good Year to Die For Your Heirs' Sake
- The Dangers of DIY Estate Planning
- The Economy's Lasting Impact on Your Retirement
- Unconventional Retirement Investing Strategies
- Another Retirement Challenge for Women: Income Gender Gap
- Launching Your Own Business After Age 50
- Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Financial Adviser
- The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less
- 15 Ways to Tell if You Are Ready to Retire
- How to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits
- How Working Longer Helps Build Retirement Security
- How to Find a Low-Tax Place to Retire
- Investing Your Social Security Check? Consider These Factors
- Alternatives to Traditional Retirement
- Change On the Way for Retiree Health Benefit Programs
- Two New Medigap Plans to Consider
- Sizing Up Your Retirement Nest Egg Needs
- Biggest Sources of Retirement Income
- Assembling a Sturdy Retirement Portfolio
- Withdrawing from Retirement Accounts Early without Penalty
- Social Security Inflation Adjustment Debate
- Biggest Sources of Retirement Income
- Don't Neglect Long-Term Care in Retirement Planning
- How the Health Care Bill Impacts Retirees
- Jobs With the Best Retirement Benefits
Personal Finance - Boomers Take On 'Necessities' May Not Be Grounded in Reality
(c) 2010 Humberto Cruz