Don’t Let Financial Bogeys Take You Off Course
“Retirement means no pressure, no stress, no heartache... unless you play golf.”
— Gene Perret
When you were working full-time and raising a family, it was hard to spend four-plus hours on the golf course. But now you’re retired. Ideally, you’d like to be living on the golf course, right?
Unfortunately, we frequently find the opposite is true, with many retirees letting financial worries keep them off the golf course in their prime retirement years. All too often they’ve cut back their weekly golf foursomes to once a month because they felt like they were spending too much.
There’s No Better Time Than Now to Tee It Up
While financial concerns, such as running out of money and affording healthcare1, should not be taken lightly, many pre-retirees and retirees today are in fact well prepared for retirement. However, they let loose ends in their financial plans nag at them and cause them to say no to golf or other activities.
Including an insurance product, such as an annuity, in a retirement income plan, could not only help close the income gap but could also help prevent financial bogeys from keeping the retiree’s plan off course. By discussing the leisure activities they’d like to do with their financial representative, they can factor them into their retirement strategy. This may contribute to helping them feel more confident about discretionary spending (i.e. golfing) without feeling irresponsible.
Play Through Unexpected Expenses With Proper Planning
Some savers have the tendency to tighten up when unexpected expenses occur. From the roof needing repaired to an emergency hospital stay or a family member needing a loan, there’s one rule about unexpected expenses you can count on — you should expect them. However, it's not uncommon for retirees to stop spending on leisure activities like golf for a few months after a big, abrupt expense. To help address this, you may want to consider these three options:
1. Build your golf (leisure) expenses into your monthly baseline of income needs. If you have income set aside for golf and other income earmarked for emergencies, you’ll have room for those expected-unexpecteds and the "fun money.”
Many retirees only set up their retirement income distributions to cover hard costs, and plan to use their lump savings for leisure activities. But the truth is, they are too scared to spend that money so the fun money just sits in the bank. It’s a psychological issue — you know you have a finite amount of money, and once it’s spent, it’s gone. You can help avoid this “spending paralysis” by setting up a stream of predictable income, such as a fixed annuity, as part of your retirement strategy.
2. Set up separate bank accounts for expenses. Pulling everything from the same account can give you a cloudy picture of your finances. You can usually set up multiple named accounts at no cost, so why not set up a “golfing” account? You'll be guilt free when it's time to go golfing knowing you're not taking money from another important expense.
If you fund it automatically with income distributions, you’ll know you have money designated elsewhere for actual expenses, and won’t feel hesitant to spend the money that is accumulating in your golf account. It doesn’t feel frivolous (because it isn’t!) when you’ve earmarked funds for fun and have properly allocated your income to living expenses as well.
3. Ensure your spouse is taken care of. One way to help eliminate guilt before hitting the course is to set up a succession plan for your spouse in case you pass away before him or her. Your insurance agent can offer life insurance as part of succession planning, but be sure to work with your attorney and tax advisor for the other services. Work with these professionals to put a plan together to help ensure your spouse will be taken care of, and you can make your tee-time guilt-free.
There’s no way to stay on top of your game when you’re worried you’re blowing through your spouse’s future income on the green. This is a win-win strategy off the course, as your spouse will have the peace of mind that comes with being taken care of financially in case of your death, and you’ll both feel better about enjoying retirement more.
Retirement lasts an average of nearly 20 years2, and for some retirees, can be a transformative time, with enormous opportunities 3. It’s also ranked 10th on the list of life’s 43 most stressful events 4. A few months here and there of not being able to do things you love due to worrying about financial security or emergencies can add up to significant time lost. Be sure to make the most of retirement and plan your time to tee it up while you're healthy enough to enjoy it.
To learn more ways to play more golf in retirement, join us at the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. Attendees will be taken on a guided tour of the Hall of Fame and Museum with its official historian Dr. Anthony Parker and have dinner prepared by a top executive chef. Insurance professional Eric Stratton will present on how using insurance products can help alleviate worry in retirement. Call Sarah at 904-425-0943 to RSVP.
1 AJ Smith, 6 common retirement fears, Credit.com, 2014
2 Steve Vernon, Working in retirement is becoming the new normal, MoneyWatch, 2014
3 Patrick J. Skerrett, Is retirement good for health or bad for it? Harvard Health, 2012
4 Holmes- Rahe Stress Inventory, The American Institute of Stress