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When it’s time to loosen up

By John R. Berry, CFP®

“Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.”

You’ve probably seen a T-shirt with this phrase on it. The youngest person I’ve seen wearing one was still in elementary school.

Many people use slogans like this to justify their extravagances, although such individuals are not typically clients of Corner Post Financial Planning. Our most financially successful clients have exercised prudence in their lives for many years.

For the careful client, who has spent decades minding her dollars, it’s hard to switch from growing your nest egg to spending it.

While imprudent retirees may blow through their nest egg too quickly by “treating” themselves too often, too early, conservative savers and investors continue to watch every inflow and outflow.

Watching your money is important, especially as you adjust to life without a regular paycheck. However, after a year or two, you can reevaluate.

Client and financial planner must work together with regular communication, balancing the need to preserve money for an unknown lifespan with the client’s desire to check off some bucket list items.

I’ve been in the fortunate position to get to tell quite a few clients: Take the trip. Buy the dream property. Cake? You don’t have to ask me.

The planning challenge is that a retirement period’s first several years tend to set the stage for the decades to come. This is due to a mix of spending choices and market returns. Those early years are also when clients tend to be more adventurous.

Here at Corner Post, we understand the frequent tension between the need to carpe diem and the possibility that you will live a long time (which requires money). That’s the reason to continually revisit your plan.

Sometimes we must advise clients to rein in their spending. With the right lifelong habits and some good fortune thrown in, though, you just might be able to loosen up the purse strings.

John R. Berry is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and owner of Corner Post Financial Planning.