Think about what you spend the most money on and you’ll quickly realize some of it can be reduced but a lot of it cannot when you’re in retirement. Chances are you’re out of debt. You’ve saved until it hurt and now you should be living the retirement you deserve.
You’ve won the war.
But there’s one thing I need to talk to you about.
I talk to a lot of investors during any given week which provides me with a front row seat to specific pressure points for investors, especially retirees.
One pressure point that never goes away is the love you have for your children and grandchildren. We love them, and we want them to do well, and we help them especially in times of emergencies. Even responsible children get into financial trouble now and then.
But oftentimes, their emergency isn’t necessarily yours.
I’m not talking about houses at risk of being lost, or unavoidable hardships. They happen.
What I’m thinking about here is different.
What if your grandchild is going to a prestigious private school that just raised its tuition by triple the rate of inflation, or more, and now the hard decision needs to be made? Does the child go to a public school where she will have to make new friends, or do you step in to help? Then there’s college. You get the point.
There’s rarely enough money.
But what if the pressure point was less painful?
What if the financial burden was reduced by helping grandchildren embrace the FIRE way of life when they can still live a debt-free life well before they’re married with children of their own and rid themselves of the financial pressures accepted by an indebted society—without you forcefully telling them they need to live that way?
You see, saving enough money for your own retirement is hard enough. It’s when the surprise expenses come up that portfolios run the heightened risk of running out of money. Because, as I’ve said, most of you are not living frivolous lifestyles. You are already a member of the FIRE tribe. Maybe without the “E” for early.
We all understand the spending side of the equation. Spend less, keep more. But when surprise expenses come up, it puts your whole retirement further into the uncertain hands of the market. And with the future value of money as uncertain today as it has ever been—that’s scary.
The last thing you want is to need for the market to do something for you because you gave away too much of your money (Read my favorite piece on the subject here) when instead you could have taught a loved one how to find their happiness.
It’s not about the money.
That’s why it makes sense for you to have a discussion with a child who may feel like he needs your money to keep up his lifestyle—perhaps at the cost of yours—before it’s too late to matter.
Because you can give love f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and you can give money until you don’t have any left, but you can’t give happiness. That’s up to them to discover—the sooner the better.
In The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein wrote:
“I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry…”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.”
Follow along with my entire series on FIRE here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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