You may be tempted to believe that all your problems would go away if only you’ve saved a ton for retirement, but those fortunate enough to have more will tell you that money doesn’t solve all their problems. Still, having money is better than not having enough, if simply for the fact that there’s now one less problem to worry about.
Recently, I had a reader asked me what she could do because she’s saved too much for retirement. She’s in her mid 50s and she and her husband amassed a $3.5 million dollar nest egg through diligent saving and consistent investing. She doesn’t feel like she’s deprived herself through the years, but one of her good friends recently made her question life a little bit when the friend told her that she’s just saving too much and not living enough.
Ignore the retirement figures for a second because you can feel this way no matter how much you’ve saved. If you are in a similar boat – saving too much and not enjoying life at all, then these 11 things I told her she could do will help you too.
1. Figure out if you are miserable because you save so much or you are saving simply because you are already comfortable and you just happen to have a ton of cash left over every month. This is key. Are you depriving yourself because you are putting everything toward a lifestyle in the future? Or are you living the life exactly as you want it now but simply have a high income? It’s almost impossible to save too much for retirement because you can always blow through any amount if you really choose to, but you should be making changes if you are saving every penny and feeling miserable.
2. Start enjoying those funds a little bit now as a test run. Consider slowly opening that faucet. Buy higher quality, or go to a fancier restaurant once in a while when you are allowed to (order fancier takeout would work too these days). One of the best ways to use your money is to buy convenience. Hiring gardeners, handymen, cleaning ladies are all luxuries that can make a noticeable change in your life. While they are here working on your house, you may even be able to learn a thing or two if you decide to take back the reigns and do everything yourself again.
3. Figure out how you would like your kids to inherit your fortune. Do you worry that your heirs will blow through the nest egg you’ve spent decades building? A recommendation I often give to really wealthy people I know is to give their kids some of that money to manage now. Most of them roll their eyes, so I understand the worry that it’ll just make the beneficiaries lazy. However, letting them start managing a small piece of your nest egg earlier is going to cause a much smaller disruption that giving them everything when you pass away.
Plus, you are still here to guide them now. It’s not so easy to give them money advice once you are six feet under.
Also, you should use some of the money now to go on nice experiences with them. Remember that your kids’ memories with and of you are also part of their inheritance. How do you want them to think of you long past you are gone?
4. Donate by sharing your money and time. There are many worthy causes in this world that need the help of generous people like you. If you find a cause that truly speaks to you, I encourage you to not only give your money but also volunteer your time to help further the cause. Being involved in your favorite charity can be life-changing because it gives you a perspective you can never get from a position in the ivory tower.
Be more generous not only to strangers but also to friends and family around you. I don’t mean for you to start handing out money, but there are plenty of opportunities to be generous with your neighbors, friends, and family. Host a few BBQs when we are allowed to gather again, take time to give them a good gift for Christmas or their kids’ birthdays. Share a good bottle of wine. Spread your good fortune!
5. Start tax planning. Chances are very good that you can save yourself quite a bit of taxes if you start planning early. Consider converting some of your pretax nest egg to a Roth IRA early to avoid hitting a higher tax bracket in later years. Ditto with charitable giving and inheritance planning. Small changes done early enough can mean a big difference in how much Uncle Sam can take from you.
6. Consider semi-retirement. Don’t take quitting work forever lightly even if you saved enough to never work a day in your life, because you never know how losing that motivation to get up every morning will do to your mental health. But for those who truly are saving too much and can afford to take their foot off the gas pedal, semi-retirement can be just the ticket to a happier life. Once you are ready, ask the boss whether there’s an opportunity to work a few days a week instead of coming to work every day.
7. Alternatively, give starting a side hustle serious thought. I know that creating another income source sounds counter-intuitive for someone who doesn’t need money to make ends meet, but if a side gig has traction, then it’s easy to quit your job and control your hours. A new gig can also be exciting, and you may never want to retire ever.
8. Check your insurance policies. You should pay that monthly premium to insure against any expenses that can potentially devastate your finances. But if you already have enough to retire, then you may not need to insure against certain catastrophes. For example, there may not be a need for life insurance if you are already thinking about quitting your job.
On the other hand, there could be other types of insurances, such as long term care insurance, that you could benefit from. Insurance premiums can command a significant portion of your retirement expenses. By taking some time to figure out this piece of the puzzle, you can probably spend less and get more.
9. Revisit your investment plan. Now that you no longer need to grow your nest egg as aggressively to reach your goals, consider dialing down risk in your investment portfolio. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that no one can predict everything that will happen in the future. Risks assets such as stocks tend to go up through time, but it’s not an absolute guarantee. If you were at all worried during the recent downturn, then having a smaller percentage of your portfolio in less volatile assets will help you sleep better at night.
10. Similarly, paying down your mortgage can help your psyche. Interest rates are low, and chances are very good that you will get a better investment return if you keep that mortgage. But will a chance of an even higher balance in your retirement portfolio benefit you much? No one ever regrets being debt-free. Don’t underestimate how much comfort you’ll find if you are able to eliminate that huge monthly outlay.
11. Pat yourself on the back. Figuring out what to do because you are saving too much for retirement is a first world problem within the fortune portion of the first world population. Congratulate yourself on making the right choices, and feel good about that. Also recognize, though, that you are one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to make those choices. If you have a chance to help someone make those same choices, or help put someone in the position to make them, then please take that opportunity to better the world.
Don’t let that money just go to waste. Use a little, keep saving, and enjoy life. You deserve it.
Editor’s Note: I’ve begun tracking my assets through Personal Capital. I’m only using the free service so far and I no longer have to log into all the different accounts just to pull the numbers. And with a single screen showing all my assets, it’s much easier to figure out when I need to rebalance or where I stand on the path to financial independence.
They developed this pretty nifty 401K Fee Analyzer that will show you whether you are paying too much in fees, as well as an Investment Checkup tool to help determine whether your asset allocation fits your risk profile. The platform literally takes a few minutes to sign up and it’s free to use by following this link here. For those trying to build wealth, Personal Capital is worth a look.
Originally posted at https://moneyning.com/life-style/11-things-to-do-if-you-saved-too-much-and-not-enjoying-life/