Youth can be such a beautiful thing.  It implies hope, learning, growth, dreams, aspirations to change the world.  In today’s fast-moving society, youth has somehow taken a front seat to its elders and become more valued in our culture than experience and wisdom.  However, often the cold reality of the world tends to suppress youthful ambition and slowly, or not so slowly, take the air out of the optimism.  If young people do not respect the generation(s) that come before them, they will make the same mistakes their forbearers made and will be slower to progress than if they had merely asked an elder for their perspective.

If the young put aside their living-in-the-momentness, one large area that would benefit is a person’s financial situation in the later years.  An article we published last month (This is the No. 1 financial regret of older Americans), expounds on the mistakes made by people who are forced to live with the consequence of their action/inaction.  For those rolling their eyes expecting another article on the miracle of compound interest (which is true), I would instead directly focus on the most critical commodity – time – or rather the wisdom that comes with time.

One tactic that helps me when making big decisions is to fast forward to a theoretical conversation with myself as an old man.  What would me, as an old man, think of the decision made by me as a young man?  This simple exercise has often made seemingly tricky choices easy.  Someone could also not stress their imagination and merely talk to a parent or mentor.  Judging by the findings in the mentioned article, I bet many in the older generation would likely wish they had trusted people over 30, especially when it comes to financial decisions.

Kyle Gowen, CFA®, CFP® Director of Investments

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