Thomas Cole, an American artist of the Hudson River
School, painted a series called “The Voyage of Life”, dividing life’s journey into “Youth, Maturity and Old Age”. For my purposes, I have divided these stages of life into three phases: (1) Threshold Planning; (2) MidLife Planning; and (3) Elder Planning. The first two are discussed here.
|The Threshold Generation
These are the estate planning “beginners”, usually age 25 to 40. They may be single or married, with or without children. They have recently finished their formal education and have entered the job market.They begin to see the need for planning for future events (marriage, children, careers, job loss or transfer, the need for a larger home).
They are generally healthier and more active than their parents at the same age. They enjoy the opportunity to buy what they like, but generally save very little, especially since many are saddled with education loans.They rarely think of estate planning as something for them until they begin to have children.
|The MidLife Generation
This group is comprised of the population from age 40 through 60. They have been in the workplace for several decades, are generally proficient in their jobs and at the peak of their earning years. They like to travel and are generally still healthy.
They are perhaps the most conflicted of all age groups when it comes to planning for the future. They are cognizant of the need to set aside funds for their retirement. They may still be providing financial support for their children while at the same time providing for the needs of their elderly parents. For that reason they are known as the “sandwich generation”.
They either have experience with relatives who have needed long term care or expect to do so in the near future. They hope to avoid the same fate.