By Timothy Maurer
HUNT VALLEY, Md. (TheStreet) -- While most of my career has been spent advising the Depression-baby and baby boomer generations, I have a real sympathy for younger generations. After all, I'm a Gen-Xer myself.
I'm married (10 years in April) with two energetic boys, ages 5 and 7, so I'm right in the thick of it with many of my peers who have built their careers and financial lives in a decade marked by the highest level of stock market and real estate volatility since the Great Depression. And while financial planning for 30-somethings is often not as complex as those who've traveled at least a couple of decades farther down life's path, there is no denying planning needs for Generations X and, increasingly, Y, range the broadest spectrum imaginable in personal finance -- wills, powers of attorney, life insurance, disability income insurance, homeownership, home and auto insurance, education planning, career planning, child care, health care ...
With so many of these present-day financial planning items staring us down, who has time to worry about the future with retirement planning?
Retirement appears almost beyond the grasp of younger generations because the variables are so many and the timeline so long. Indeed, for those of us closer to the front end of our retirement journey, we're faced with a daunting task: The retirement planning "three-legged stool" -- once a corporate pension, Social Security retirement benefit and personal savings with 401(k)s and IRAs -- is now the retirement pogo stick.
It's on us -- you and me -- to fund our own retirements. Further complicating matters, doctors suggest the length of life for those in Gen X and Y may far exceed that of our parents and grandparents. But the quality of life, to the degree it is improved by cash flow, is in question because of the burden of saving.
In keeping with the rebellious tendencies of younger generations, I'm going to shed the "three-point" lesson for a more concise two points younger generations should consider for a more prosperous and fulfilling retirement: