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Mailbag- Retirement Shift: Saving to Spending

Mailbag- Retirement Shift: Saving to Spending

| December 04, 2020

From the Rummel Wealth Management Mailbag, where, as always, these are real questions from real clients. (Of course the names are changed to protect the innocent.)


Robert and Kelly in Clio, MI write:

Ed, as you know we've been retired a few years now and are in our mid-60s.  Robert has some physical conditions that limit is ability to do as much around the house as he used to do.  He doesn't like to hire help as they never do as good of job as he (thinks he) would have.  I tell him it's okay to spend some money on good help.  He says it's hard to find good help.  Do you have any suggestions?


Kelly and Robert,

This one hits close to home.  My folks are in their mid-70s and starting to realize there are a few projects they are finally willing to pay to have done - especially if my brother-in-law, his two boys, and I know we are over our heads… One example was installation of a mini-split at their place this fall.  The contractor did a great job!

There are two different characteristics that make spending money on help difficult for folks in your position - and you are NOT ALONE!

  1. You've been savers most of your lives. 
  2. A common trait of the "millionaire next door" outside of living below their means, and saving money on a regular basis consistently over a long period of time, is completing a lot of household chores on your own.  Not paying the costs of labor makes a lot of projects manageable financially for us DIYers. 

These two long-standing personality traits - savers and DIYers - makes it tough to pay for help. I will tell you, pay for help  with the understanding that the person/team doing the work will "never do it as well as you would have" - even if they are a trained/certified professional.  And if you hire somebody to do the work, let them work without always looking over their shoulder.  Recall your working days - was your paying customer always watching you work?  No. Be respectful of the person you've hired and give them some room.

As you go through the different phases of retirement, it's okay to pay for things that you either are no longer able to do or just don't want to do.  That's what retirement savings is for.  Now, we have to make sure to not go crazy - moderation and having it fit within the annual spending plan is wise.  That said, for the two of you, like many other clients - we've been able to talk about the different investment accounts, the purpose/goal of each account, and what role each account has within the retirement journey.

Just the other day, had a couple in the office for a review (social distancing guidelines followed).  Part of the review was talking about the cash in the Roth IRAs.  Yes, their kitchen remodel project is still on, but on hold until they work through some of the decisions.  So the cash in the Roth IRAs will remain.  We also discussed turning on the next source of income that may be used to help with paying for help or purchasing equipment that allows the husband to keep doing household outdoor chores.

Robert and Kelly - please use those accounts we've identified for these purposes.  And readers, please enjoy retirement and do not be afraid to spend a little money.  

As always, loyal readers, please submit your questions to where real life meets real people and we give real advice. 

Financial Guidance For Purposeful Life Journeys