Retirement Lesson, Year 4. Spend (More) Money.

One way I am happier in retirement – I blow money on things.

I’ve worked for money to support myself and my family since babysitting money from Friday nights paid for my Saturday mall outings. I progressed, scrimping and saving for univerity and college as a lifeguard while my young husband (young then!) joined the military as a poor private (poor in those days – I hear it’s a bit better today, thank goodness!) We both got educated, got better jobs, but as you may know, life got more expensive. Babies, daycare, houses, mortgages, bigger cars. Boys and their sports, like competitive hockey, then university for them. All the while trying to save something for our “golden years” – retirement!

Well we’re here. The first couple of years didn’t feel much different than the working years, except it felt like longer holidays. But now, starting year 4 of my retirement, I’ve noticed something. Like the commercial says, “You’re richer than you think.”

Yes, we stumbled, and bumbled, and had mistake-ridden retirement planning. We once pulled all our RRSPs out to buy a house in a time when there wasn’t a special first-time buyer allowance to do so – then lost money on the house anyway on an inopportune military move, again at a time when the military didn’t help out with such things. We once had a financial advisor talk us into products we didn’t understand, and which we used, again, at inopportune times. I could go on, but hey, life is life, you won’t learn from my mistakes, you’ll create your own.

But something magic has happened as we live our silver sixties : We have disposable income. Yes, after 3 years of retirement living, we are comfortable knowing our basic needs are easily met with our retirement income. And, we have money left over for little luxuries to make life fun, easier, and enjoyable. Let me give you some examples of how I choose to blow my money on things that make me happy and/or comfortable:

  • I buy lattes. Yes, I’ve spent over $5 for a hot drink.
  • We pay for parking downtown at the most convenient location, regardless of cost. This saves time and is stress-free. Time and less stress have become more valuable to me the older I get. Not cheap, though.
  • I will upgrade the side dishes on restaurant meals. More $ for the sweet potato fries? Bring them on. Same for the house wine – If I’m not sure of the quality, I will order the wine I want instead.
  • In fact, I order what I want now off a menu – I rarely look at the price anymore! If I am spending money on my meal out, I will make sure it’s a meal I enjoy.
  • Clothes – I certainly don’t shop for clothes as much in retirement, so when I do, I buy whatever I want, not just what’s on sale.
  • I turn my heat up to what is warm, or the A/C down to what is comfortable (for my husband, this means much colder than I like, but that’s married life and a whole other post)
  • Travelling : We used to have a travel trailer and enjoyed it, but the hassle wasn’t worth it over time. We sold it (lost money on it.) We still like to travel, though. But we stay in nice hotels instead.

Of course, we’re not millionaires, we can’t go overboard on everything. I scrimp on things, too, but only on things that don’t matter to me. I’ve never paid someone to do my nails, because I like how I do them myself, not because I’m trying to save money. I have a gym in my condo building, so no longer need a membership. I swim and hot tub at city pools; I don’t spend on the spa (although that is a luxury that I appreciate as a birthday or Christmas present, hint, hint, if any of my kids read this blog, which I’m pretty sure they don’t.)

Summary : Be Happy. Spend money, but on what you want, when you want. The nickel and diming was fine while you saved for these years, but habits can change now – these years are here!

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One thought on “Retirement Lesson, Year 4. Spend (More) Money.

  1. Thanks for the reinforcement. I agree. I admit I still make some decisions NOT to spend money because I had it drilled into my head that it was a luxury (spending extra at a restaurant for something that’s better for you, etc.) But I’m getting over that, especially as my metabolism slows down!!!

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