By Bill Storie
Volume 4 – Independence in Retirement
Most people, perhaps all people, seek a high level of Independence in their Retirement. This Series discusses the main elements of an independent life in retirement.
Issue #9 – Estate Planning
“Don’t go there” I hear you say.
Ok, fair enough, but let me ask you a question……… “Do you want to leave some form of inheritance to your grandkids, or blow the lot while you’re still here…?”
Hmmm. Put like that, it takes on a different complexion.
The dilemma that most Retirees have is that, on the one hand, they really do want to enjoy themselves in Retirement, yet on the other hand they are very conscious that if they do spend all they have, then very little, if any, will be left for their grandkids education, for example.
So, the question of Independence re estate planning becomes a real and, probably sensitive issue.
The first word to dispense with is “selfish”. You are not being selfish by spending your retirement monies on yourself and spouse. Most children, perhaps even all, would strongly declare that you have deserved it and you should be spending the cash. If anything is left then fine, but do NOT deny yourself, not only the basics of life, but the luxuries as well.
The next word to ponder, is “guilt”. Yes, many of us Retirees do feel a sense of guilt that we ARE spending the money and in all probability, won’t have much to leave when we catch the last bus home. Of course, that feeling gets worse if the kids are making noises such as, “Now, where are you going..?” That doesn’t help.
But if you are sensible, there is every chance that some assets will be left. If for example you own your own home, and car, and boat, let’s say, then you cannot take them with you, and as long as you didn’t borrow against them in your latter years, then those hard assets are “leaveable”. Maybe the cash dribbled away, but hard assets remain.
The issue of Independence in this category is whether you believe that you can, by and large do what you want to do in your retirement years i.e. Independence or whether you feel obliged in some fashion to be careful about your spending.
It really is a very personal decision and the way one person feels can be drastically different from the next person. Both are correct. Ideally the Retiree should feel no pressure, and should be free to handle their own finances to the best of their abilities, and in a manner which reasonably balances between spend and save.
And remember that for the many years we have left, there is inevitably a diminishing balance of cash, unless your total income (pensions, investments, etc) easily surpasses your expenditure year of year. If you receive more than you justifiably spend, then there may be some surplus building up at the end of each year. If so, you’re in great shape.
It might also be a good idea to “hint” to the family that there will be some estate to leave and hopefully that might slow them down from making comments about your spending and, in fairness, allay there concerns about being left nothing !!! Of course, probably best not to divulge actual numbers !!!