She was surrounded by children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and friends, all of whom volunteered their favorite stories about times they spent together – at the beach, at home in Florida, visiting the national parks, or travelling by train across the Canadian Rockies.
I was so happy to be there sharing that special moment with her and her family. And of course, doing the job I do, I couldn’t help but see the event as a “teachable moment,” an opportunity to observe some lessons about life that I could take away and share with clients.
Here’s my three main takeaways.
1). Spending your money on experiences and time together with family and friends is always money well spent. You can’t go hog-wild, of course, because you need to make it last, but those memories will stay with you and bring you pleasure forever.
2). As we sat around the tables, celebrating the birthday of someone who started life before women even received the right to vote, I was reminded of how hard it is to plan for your future when you have no idea how long that future is going to last. Nowadays, the fastest growing older age group is that of people over age 90. Maybe, one day, that group will include you! It’s always a struggle to balance what you want to do today with what you need to set aside for tomorrow. In fact, figuring out the right amount to spend each year, and adjusting the plan going forward, is one of the key concerns of our clients, and one where they call on us for help.
3). And here’s a final takeaway. Plan ahead to simplify and streamline your life as you age, so you can spend your time and energy on the things that really matter to you. That may mean moving into a retirement community, so you no longer need to mow the lawn, drive yourself to the doctor, or cook every meal. It definitely means setting up a trusted circle of friends and advisors to protect you and your finances, help you invest wisely, ensure your taxes are filed, plan your estate, and make sure every “t” is crossed and “i” dotted.
Oh, and one last thing. Enjoy the ride!