Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

These Gen Xers share their personal concerns about an uncertain future

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As the country starts to reopen its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Americans of all ages are still trying to figure out the path forward.

Many have lost income, may be struggling with a small business or are dealing with child-care issues.

But those in their 40s, the younger end of Generation X, have their own unique set of circumstances. Known as part of the “Sandwich Generation,” they are dealing with both kids and aging parents and are generally mid-career.

If you’re Gen X and the anxiety is getting to you, don’t beat yourself up.

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It’s easy to get emotional and give in to stress instead of being practical, said certified financial planner Lazetta Rainey Braxton, co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners and a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

“Shift away the noise and let’s just pause,” she said. “Let’s take a look at where you are.

“Having a plan, you realize you can get through this,” Braxton added. “It’s just all the noise that makes it seem very chaotic and uncertain.”

Here’s how people in their 40s are navigating these uncertain times while trying to plan for the future.

A pile of bills and the phone isn’t ringing

Katey Platts and her daughter

Source: Katey Platts

Katey Platts is a lawyer who has her own practice in Jersey City, New Jersey — one of the hardest hit states. The 42-year-old mom of two is trying to juggle working from home and helping her 11-year-old and 14-year-old daughters with their homeschooling.

“I’m generally not an anxious person,” Platts said. “But I wake up in the morning, and I’m feeling this anxiety.

“I am very concerned about the psychological effect this is having on my children.”

On top of that, she is also starting to worry about the immediate future of her law practice. At first, it was business as usual. Now, she’s sensing a change.

There will probably be no other time that … the family will be together this much.

Katey Platts

lawyer in Jersey City, New Jersey

“This week, I went in to find a number of bills waiting for me,” Platts said.

“The business has not stayed as busy,” she added. “The phone calls aren’t coming in from new clients. There’s also payments that my clients cannot make, because they’re out of work.”

While figuring out the summer plans for her kids is a “nightmare,” she said there has been good from the situation, as well.

“There will probably be no other time that children are growing up that the family will be together this much,” she said.

Concern about a rush to reopen

Police officer John Bossolt

Source: John Bossolt

For police officer John Bossolt, who works in the traffic bureau of the Montclair Police Department in New Jersey, what happens in the fall with school may change his retirement plans.

The divorced 48-year-old shares custody of his 8-year-old son with his ex-wife. He was going to wait a few years to retire, but if there is no school in the fall, he may opt to leave early. Police officers can retire after 25 years of service and he’s now served 26 years.

“I’m very humbled and very blessed that I even have the opportunity,” he said. When his son is a little older, he’ll look to get another job, he said.

Yet one of his biggest concerns is if the economy reopens too soon.

“People are literally still dying,” he said. “I’m going to one to two funerals [of first responders] a week because in the traffic bureau motor unit, that is our job.”

That included one on Thursday for his friend, Glen Ridge police officer Charles Edwards Roberts, who died from coronavirus complications.

Keeping things in perspective

Sabrina Thompson Mitchell

Source: Sabrina Thompson Mitchell

As the owner of a small boutique media production company, Houston-based Sabrina Thompson Mitchell used to take flights to New York two to three times a month to do photo and video shoots with both small and large companies. She also films about 10 to 12 weddings a year.

Now the 42-year-old finds herself home, continuing to edit but also thinking about how to adjust, if necessary. She also acknowledges she is fortunate to have a working spouse.

“It’s really about perspective,” Mitchell said. “Everything that goes up and is successful will eventually come down.

“When you come down, how do you pivot?”

There is a deep concern that my company will never be the same.

Sabrina Thompson Mitchell

media production company owner, Houston

It wouldn’t be the first time she has made adjustments in her professional life.

Mitchell, who once worked as a television producer, was a teacher in Brooklyn when she was chosen as a contestant for the CBS show “Survivor” in 2012. She came in second place and took her $100,000, plus bonus, to start her company, Kuu Productions.

“There is a deep concern that my company will never be the same,” Mitchell said when asked about the future.

“But it’s not a worry because my talent is not being stripped away from me,” she added. “It’s just kind of going back to the drawing board.”

Lack of child care

Benji and Dave Gruben

Source: Dave Gruben

Dave Gruben counts himself fortunate that he has a great career and some money saved in the bank. Yet the 44-year-old widower is grappling with life as a single dad to a 6-year-old. With that comes issues over child care, among other concerns.

He just found out that summer camp has been canceled. As the store manager of a New Jersey tire and auto service center, he’s currently going into work every other week. That will change at some point in the future.

“I’m very concerned that when I go back to full time, which is coming soon as business continues to ramp back up, I am going to be spending close to my mortgage payment in care for my son with all schools and camps closed,” said Gruben, who lives in Jefferson, New Jersey.

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