Retirees have a lot of life experiences. We grew up, received an education, spent decades in the workforce and along the way learned how to handle our family finances.
We would like to pass that experience along to our children in hopes of making their financial lives a little easier. Here's the problem: Much of what we know about family finances doesn't apply to the "mom, dad and two kids" families of today.
How can that be? Like the proverbial frog in the slowly warming water, things have changed so gradually that we never noticed.
This was driven home to me by a piece of video I recently ran across. I was stunned by how much my financial thinking was out of date. I watched the video, then got my wife and sat down with her and watched it again.
In March of 2007, Elizabeth Warren was invited to Berkley to give the Jefferson Memorial Lecture. Note to conservatives: Although Warren is now a U.S. Senator, there is nothing even close to a partisan remark in this video. Warren was invited to lecture because she was becoming recognized for her work on bankruptcy and the conditions leading American families into financial peril.
Warren is to financial information what the late Carl Sagan was to science. She can make her topic interesting and easily understandable. Once I got past the dean of the graduate school who introduced Warren, I couldn't stop watching.
The video runs 57 minutes, but you can stop it and come back to it later if desired. (Just remember the time you stopped, then use the "scrubber" bar to fast forward back to that point.)
Warren contrasts the financial situation facing a typical family in 1970 with one in 2005. You will be amazed at the differences you did not understand. Educators will be particularly struck by the difference in educational costs to a family wanting their children to enter the middle class. This occurs around 48 minutes into the video.
Here is the video, Trust me, it is worth your time: