How to Confidently Spend in Retirement
I once had an important and revealing conversation with “Nancy” who lost her husband a few years ago. She asked me if she could “afford” to hire a landscaper to cut the grass, take care of her plantings, and weed her flower beds. She did all of this work herself for years, but it reached the point where the upkeep caused too much stress and prevented her from making future plans.
Years before her husband’s passing, they worked together to design a retirement plan. Because they stayed on track with their plan, I knew she could afford to hire a good landscaper and help increase her total annual spending without negative impact.
Given Nancy’s financial situation, why was she worried about hiring a landscaper? This is a good example of a common phenomenon. Transitioning from diligently saving for retirement to spending during retirement is difficult. For diligent savers, flipping the switch from saving to spending is hard. Many say “ … It just feels weird.”
Over the years, Nancy conditioned herself to feel as though she “should” worry because that’s what they’ve always done. Spending what she has saved almost feels irresponsible.
Altering a 40-year habit is challenging. Confidently flipping the switch from saving to spending to support the life you’ve earned requires regularly consulting your numbers so you can make educated and rational decisions.
This is why careful, long-term planning and consistently staying in touch with your numbers is critical to living the life you’ve earned.
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