Retirement Rule #77

Spend your fixed income on what is important to you, not today’s marketers.

Ok so this is kind of bogus post in that I don’t know what the 76 retirement rules might be that precede this one. 🙂 But that doesn’t make this one any less important. One of my blog buddies proudly states that he has given up cable TV. I salute him for that if that is important for him but I choose to do otherwise. But I do see his point in several aspects. It seems that much of what is on cable today is nothing but a giant marketing scheme.

There are so many home improvement type shows on cable that it seems to dominate the bandwidth. Almost every one of them tells us how to spend more and more of our money on things that we “need”.

  • They want us to believe that if your kitchen does not have cherry cabinet, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances then it is absolutely mandatory that you immediately remodel to make that happen.
  • They want us to believe that if your back yard does not include a water feature, a fire pit, and at least some formal dining area that you should immediately contact your landscape architect.
  • They want us to believe that if your car does not have dvd players front and rear, in-dash GPS, and 0-60 mph in under six seconds that you should rush to your car dealer to make that happen.

I put a lot of the blame of the average $10,000 credit card debt that the average family carries on these types of things. And it seems that seniors are not exempt from these situation. Everyday I see yet another senior on one of these programs who proudly announces his latest remodel or new car or other such major expenditure. It is almost as if life cannot be complete without everything that the marketers say we “need”. Maybe if more of us were like my blogger buddy we wouldn’t be susceptible to these types of ploys.

Getting back to the rule #77 it is up to you how you spend your discretionary money while in retirement. Don’t let today’s marketing schemes tell you how to do that.

  •  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on how my neighbors view my lifestyle.
  • I still drive the stripped down pickup truck I bought in 1992. 
  • We haven’t done any significant “home improvements” in more than ten years now.
  • We are just as likely to eat out at McDonald as we are an up-scale restaurant.
  • We don’t take fancy vacations to the Bahamas or Hawaii on a regular basis.

Why not? The reason is that those sort of things are just not that important to my wife and I. Most of our vacations, and we do take several a year because that is what we enjoy, are made by car. We travel a couple hundred miles and then look for a place to stay. Our home, although it doesn’t meet 2011 design standards feels very comfortable to us.  While my wife does spend more than I am comfortable with on her flowers each spring I accept that because her gardens are one of the things that are important to her. I spend more than I probably should on “techie” things because that is what I enjoy.

Years ago when I was about to retire the financial planners told us that we would need at least 80% of our pre-retirement income to live in our retirement years. But because of what we think is important that number ended up being less than 60%. If we followed the latest trends we, like our neighbors, might likely had needed that other 20% or maybe more.

Don’t let others decide what is important to you in your senior years.

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