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When most people think of retirement they imagine all the things that they want to do. They wish to volunteer, upgrade their house, and see the world. When considering retirement people dream of the things they want to say “yes” to. All of those things are wonderful, but they might be in jeopardy unless you learn to say “NO”.
Learning to say no in retirement is vital to preserving your time, money, and sanity.
Here are the most important items to say “no” to in retirement.
Disclaimer: Before I get started, I'll add the caveat that I don't mean you shouldn't do any of the following. These items all have merit and could fit your personal circumstances. However, abuse of any of them can lead to retirement ruin.
Learning to say no could save your retired life.
Say No to Travel
Travel is one of the most common retirement goals.
The thought is, “Once I retire I want to explore the world! Think of all the places I could go! Oh the sights to see, the adventures to be had, and all the exotic places to visit.” (Or something like that.)
But hold your horses, sometimes you need to say no to travel in retirement.
There is such a thing as too much travel. Traveling too much, especially right at the beginning of retirement, can cause some serious issues.
Travel can quickly burn through retirement savings. It can also be exhausting.
Plan 2-3 trips per year. These should be budgeted and saved for prior to going. Take pictures or keep a journal to make the most of your trip and capture your experiences.
Don't take all your dream trips right away. Say no to too much travel.
Say No to Volunteering
Now that you are retired, you want to give back to your community.
Every church, school, and charitable organization is hungry for volunteers. Unfortunately, because of their appetite, these organizations rely heavily on those who raise their hands.
Once you volunteer for one thing, you might be asked to do another, and then another.
It can be very difficult to say no. You might feel guilty because you know that the cause needs your help.
Volunteer burnout is a real problem among retirees.
When you give your time, make sure to set limits and don't be afraid to say no. Your time is a gift. Make sure that you are not giving too much.
Beware of overcommitting to organizations, especially early in retirement. Take new volunteer jobs slow and get a feel for both the organization and also your new retired life.
Say No to Home Remodels
After retiring you might be spending more time at home. You start to notice all the things wrong with your house. It seems to be the perfect time to build that new kitchen, bathroom, or walk-in closet that you've always wanted.
It might be tempting to dip into the IRA or savings account.
The problem is that home remodels can cost a serious amount of money. That bathroom update might require a chunk of retirement savings.
Your retirement savings needs to last your entire life!
If you must have the granite countertops and custom-made cabinets, make sure to plan out remodel goals and create a spending plan. Pick one or two projects in a year and budget them in advance, and be sure to add some extra into the estimates as remodel costs often go over.
Say No to Caring for Elderly Parents
Caring for elderly parents can be both a financial and mental strain in retirement.
In a recent aPlaceforMom article and study, 28% of Americans with living parents already support or think that they will need to support their senior parents.
Providing support for your parents can quickly spend down your own retirement resources.
While it can be difficult to say “no”, to save your time and money, look for assistance in reducing the burden on you. The same aPlaceforMom article recommends that you talk with a Senior Living Advisor, Financial Advisor, and your family for help.
If you find yourself caring for parents, make sure to keep focused on maintaining a healthy balance in your life. Don't wait too long to seek professional help. There are trained professionals and resources available to aid in providing care.
Say No to Supporting Adult Children
Johnny lost his job and needs to move back home, or worse yet, maybe he never left.
An estimated 53% of 18 to 24-year-olds still live with their parents!
Supporting adult children, either living with you or through financial support, can have a drastic financial impact on your retirement. According to a NerdWallet survey, supporting adult kids may cost parents $227k in retirement!
Don't let your children place a pause on your retirement goals.
Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC, writes in Empowering Parents, “The message has to be: to live in this house, you need to show us that you are working towards independence. We need to see that, and you need to help yourself make that happen.”
Children are supposed to grow up and become independent. Help them to learn the important money lessons of budgeting and saving for the future.
Say no to being their housing or bank.
Say No to Spoiling Grandchildren
Refusing to give everything to grandchildren is the most controversial item on this list. Everyone loves grandchildren!
Grandchildren are spoiled at a 20x rate versus children. (I just made that up, but it's probably true.)
Beware the financial toll of spending too much on your little angels. Without realizing it your generous expenditures can increase dramatically as they age and potentially grow in number. You can gift yourself into financial trouble.
Giving gifts to grandchildren is fantastic, for instance, I love the idea of buying stock for grandkids, but not at the expense of your own retirement.
Instead of giving toys or money, consider giving the gift of knowledge. You want them to be financially responsible kids.
Teach children a craft! Cooking, sewing, canning, woodworking, and handyman activities are all examples of skills and lost arts that children don't learn anymore. Share your skills with them.
Grandchildren will treasure the time you spend with them, and the memories will last far longer than a toy or trinket.
Practice Saying No in Retirement
It's not easy to say no in retirement. Several competing emotions can make it extremely difficult.
Just remember that your retirement is yours. You need to be your own advocate over your time and resources. Decline the things that you don't want to do so that you can say “yes” to your retirement dreams.