Financial expert says Gen Xers too timid with money

Ron Palastro advises Millennials on money matters, too

July 16, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Financial advisor Ron Palastro says young people should be bolder when it comes to their investments
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Millennials are far too young to be thinking about saving money for retirement, or are they?

“I have clients that are Millennials,” said Ron Palastro, a financial advisor. “Sure, they’re decades away from retirement. But they’re looking toward the future. They want to be smart about money.”

Palastro, who has been working in finance for 29 years, said he sees some interesting and revealing patterns in investors when they’re broken down by age group. He shared his thoughts with the Brooklyn Eagle in a recent interview. His company, Cobblestone Wealth Advisors, has its offices at 1440 61st St. in Borough Park. But Palastro, who grew up in nearby Bensonhurst and graduated from Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, has clients from all over Brooklyn.

There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. The generation is roughly defined as people who were born between 1980 and 2000. They tend to be smart and confident with money, Palastro said.

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Members of Generation X, the generation that came after the Baby Boomers, tend to be too conservative with their approach to investing, according to Palastro. “Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1980, have a lot more time to think about retirement. Some of them are conservative investors. But they should be bolder. They have more time. It’s not as if they’re going to retire next year,” he told the Eagle.

People are afraid they will lose their money with bad investments and not have enough to retire on, Palastro said. When you have decades to go before retirement, however, you have a chance to recoup your loses and even see a nice return on your investments, he said.

Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are either retired already or are approaching their retirement years. Boomers are defined as those Americans born between 1946 and 1964. “Baby Boomers got shell shocked in 2008,” Palastro said. They had been investing their money over the years and saw much of it wiped out when the Great Recession hit. “That year, 2008, was a wake-up call for people. It was the perfect storm. Everything was impacted,” he said.

Still, the stock market eventually recovered and people who panicked were left out in the cold. “People made the mistake of abandoning their strategy. They panicked. They pulled their money out of the market and then the market went up. They never recovered,” Palastro said.

Still, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to being a financial advisor, he said. “It can’t be one-size-fits-all. Every client is different. I have clients who are business executives and clients who are artists,” he said.

“There are different strategies for different clients. The main thing is to understand where the client is at, financially speaking. You have to sit down with them and have an honest discussion about their attitude toward money and what their financial goals are. Do they have a plan for emergencies? Where do they see themselves 10, 20, even 30 years from now?” Palastro said.

His message is that investors shouldn’t be skittish. The stock market and the US economy usually bounce back from tough times, he said. “People are still shell shocked from 2008. But I tell my clients they are taking a risk by doing nothing because their money is not growing,” he said.

Not everyone who comes to him for financial advice is looking to make a killing in the stock market.

Palastro also has clients who are struggling to make ends meet. “I try to help them with basic strategies. We do a cash flow analysis to see how much money they have coming in and how much they’re spending. With people living on the edge, it’s important to separate their necessities from their discretionary spending; paying bills vs. going out to dinner. In many cases, they will have to make adjustments in their lifestyle. But it can be done. You’d be surprised by how much money you can save if you cut spending,” he said.

Palastro often hosts seminars on financial planning. His next event, called the “Half Time Report,” will take place on Friday, July 25, 7 p.m., at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House, 9404 Fourth Ave. in Bay Ridge. Palastro will be talking about the stock and bond markets.

For more information, call Palastro at 718-633-9500 or visit


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