May 22, 2018
Squared Away at Year 7
Seven years ago this month, this personal finance and retirement blog debuted. How things have changed.
For one thing, back in 2011, a lot more people were reading blogs and newspapers on their clunky desktop computers. In recognition of the now-ubiquitous smart phone – more accurately, a computer that happens to have a phone – we just redesigned how Squared Away looks on phones to enlarge the type and make the articles easier to read. Our older readers will appreciate this update.
Year 7 is also an opportunity to restate the blog’s mission, which, frankly, was not fully refined in the early years. In some ways, our mission has not changed: we continue to emphasize retirement security and personal finance, with a bent toward the evidence-based research that provides a clearer understanding of the financial, economic, and behavioral issues that are critical to a high quality of life.
We regularly report on research by scholars around the country, including studies produced by members of the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Retirement Research Consortium: the NBER Retirement Research Center in Cambridge, Mass., the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which also is the blog’s home.
But it’s natural for a new publication to find its sweet spot over time, and Squared Away is no different. One theme that has emerged very clearly is that the threads of retirement saving are shot through the fabric of our financial lives.
The predicament of Millennials is an obvious example. Immediately after beginning their careers, 20- and 30-somethings – so much more than their parents and grandparents – are under the gun to save for retirements that no longer are likely to include a pension.
They’re struggling to save at the same time that they’re paying off burdensome student loans. Sadly, the research shows they aren’t making much progress on the retirement front – and neither are Generation Xers.
We’ve also expanded the definition of the U.S. money environment, or “culture,” in the blog’s Money Culture section. This section still looks at culture and society in the literal sense – whether an art exhibit highlighting class distinctions in 17thcentury Dutch paintings or a growing movement by baby boomers to retire overseas. More in line with the blog’s central purpose, however, Money Culture explores the financial impact of our economic environment – inequality, homeownership, rising health insurance costs, high rents, access to a college education, even sexual preferences. Individuals have limited or no control over these.
Squared Away also recently added an on-going series of articles – “Baby Boomers: Rewriting Retirement – exploring how the Me Generation is coming up with its own unique definition of retirement.
To keep evolving in the future, we’ll need your help. I’d especially love to hear more from young adults. So feel free to email me about the personal finance issues you’d like to see covered: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Squared Away writer Kim Blanton invites you to follow us on Twitter @SquaredAwayBC.