Sunday, March 16, 2008

Retirement: How Will You Live?

While most of use are financially planning for our retirements, I'm wondering if we're really planning what we want to do during that time.

I read a variety of personal finance blogs, including frugalistas, those in debt, those out of debt. One theme that seems to run through most of them, is the maxing out of retirement funds, sometimes to the exclusion of allowing themselves "luxuries" in the present day. While I generally think this is a reasonable idea, my question is this: once you retire and don't have to save money, what will you do?

I'm sure that many of the writers I've read have personal retirement plans and goals, but that I just haven't read what they include. What makes me wonder, is if people who are particularly frugal now will continue to be so when they retire -- even when they have the money to not be frugal. I wonder whether or not hardcore frugalistas will let themselves have indulgences, or whether or not the years and years of saving and frugality will "prevent" them from spending money on indulgences when they retire. I think we've all known elderly people in our own families, or others, who have had quite a bit of money and didn't really use it for things that gave them pleasure, but would just use a little here and there.

I'm concerned that people who deprive themselves in the present will continue to do so once they have met their financial goals and no longer need to scrimp and save.

I should probably preface all this by saying I have no children and I'm not planning on having any. I'm not planning on living a legacy for family members, and I know that many people with families want to leave a financial legacy for their children. I am personally more interested in leaving a legacy for organizations that interest me.

I also plan to not be pinching pennies when I retire, and I know this is directly related to how much money I can save now (I do not plan on receiving social security when I retire, because I believe the current state of that fund will not last 25 more years). I should probably also say that I, personally, do not believe in waiting until retirement to do all the Big Things I want to do.

I've mentioned several times how I took a year-long mini-retirement when I was 34, and spent most of that time travelling internationally. It was bliss, though I didn't contribute to a retirement fund for a few years, and I know that will catch up with me later. I'm also willing to work a couple years longer to make up for that lapse of retirement investing. I was very fortunate and lucky to be able to take that year off, though I've always known it would exact a price in my future.

So, what are your plans for retirement? Are you planning to do the Big Things you've always wanted to do? Are you planning to budget your money so you can leave a financial legacy to your family (or organizations)? Have you even planned that far?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it probably won't come as a surprise to hear that I want to spend time travelling when I retire, and to spend the rest of my time doing other activities I love.

1 comment:

Money Millionaire said...

I'm sure people will continue to be frugal - if for no other reason than they don't know how to do anything else.

I will probably choose to travel more. And while I will do it as frugally as possible - it's an expensive lifestyle in general.