Hard lessons learned

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Financial planning offices can be good places to pick up on societal trends, and Juli Erhart-Graves thinks she’s onto one.

People of her generation—Erhart-Graves is 39—are experiencing a sobering reality check about investing and the economy.

Erhart-Graves, a partner with longtime financial planner Grace Worley, notes older people have the advantage of experiencing the Great Depression and its hardship. And their children, who lived through some of the greatest prosperity the world has experienced, at least heard stories about bad times.

Now, younger generations are learning what can go wrong with an economy, jobs and retirement plans, albeit with nowhere near the pain their grandparents felt in the ’30s.

A year ago, clients in their 40s and younger didn’t always listen to her advice to spend less and save more. Now they are, she says. And they’re still young enough to recover from even severe losses.

“I kind of feel like this has been a great thing for my generation,” Erhart-Graves says. “It’s hard to go from that attitude of immediate gratification to delayed gratification.”

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