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15 Retirees Reveal Whether They Wish They Had Spent More or Less Money When They Were Younger

Life is short. To enjoy it to the fullest, some of us spend our money like it’s on fire, while others squirrel it away. One curious person took to the internet to ask retirees if there are things you should splurge on while you’re young (or not). Here’s what they had to say. 

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

1: Live While You’re Young 

Excited woman holding money.
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One person said there’s no simple answer based on their parents’ experience. Since they’ve been responsible with savings, they’ve had a modest, enjoyable lifestyle. “That being said, I can see in their eyes that they wish they had traipsed around Italy while they were younger and more able to handle the rigors of the journey.” 

2: Flaming Finances 

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One commenter said their parents bought a house and new cars and had a lot of fun along the way but are now lamenting that they’ll never pay it off. “Seems like the best thing is somewhere in the middle,” they said. 

3: On the Fly 

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One person in their 40s says their greatest regret is all the impulse purchases they had. “I have no regrets about how much a hotel cost me or a great dinner in a fun city,” they said. “I hate that I have boxes of clothes and things in my garage that I don’t need and haven’t touched in months. I imagine when I’m retired, I’ll feel the same.”

4: Everything In Moderation 

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One 54-year-old who grew up poor but became rich says there’s a balance between living like Ebenezer Scrooge and living with $20K/month credit card debt. “Don’t spend everything. Don’t spend nothing. And certainly don’t spend more than you have.”

5: Running Dry 

Older man holding piggy bank.
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One retiree realizes they may not have enough saved to last the rest of their life. “I spent a little too freely and saved a bit too little. It’s pretty scary not to feel secure anymore,” they said. “The advantages of a salary vs being retired is quite a conflict.”

6: All About Balance

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A financial advisor said most clients who “live for the moment” never truly retire. “The people that are most happy live in a healthy state of balance of doing what they want in the here and now while keeping an active approach for getting themselves that state of being ‘retired.'”

7: Skip the Stuff 

Boxes full of stuff.
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One couple recently retired and said they both regret the useless stuff they’ve accumulated over their lifetimes. “Time is more important than stuff. Spend your money on ways to maximize your time with the people you love. You’ll never regret that.”

8: Spent Too Much 

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One 58-year-old early retiree says they used to be a spender, and looking back, they wish they were the opposite. “I don’t have hardly anything I purchased, and all that money was wasted. I now must live very frugally, and sometimes it really hurts,” they said. “Save your money starting now because the future is so uncertain.”

9: Wise Up 

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After being very frugal all their life, one person’s grandparent was a millionaire at retirement. But towards the end of her life, she was totally penniless. Their advice? “If the financial system survives for another few decades, you’ll be in a situation where you can enjoy old age. However, if the system collapses, you can expect to lose everything. Be financially wise, but don’t put your heart and soul into it.” 

10: Take That Vacation

Couple looking at a map.
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At 42 years old with a $5 million net worth, one person’s only financial regret is not taking an incredible trip after their Ph.D. program. “I’d saved up $20k being frugal in grad school, which would’ve funded a year of doing something fun. But that was hard money to save, so I didn’t do it,” they said. “Once I started earning more money, $20k felt like no big deal, and I regretted it.”

11: Invest in Your Future 

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“You won’t live off of your life savings; you need a plan that incorporates investments that you select,” says one 66-year-old commenter, who believes you need to start saving wisely as soon as possible. 

12: Little by Little 

A person adding to a stack of coins.
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“I wish I had spent less on stuff and saved more,” says someone who retired earlier this year. “100 bucks a month saved when you’re young yields mountains of cash when you retire. Play those odds so you can at least enjoy it without worrying about cash flow. That’s something in your hands right now.” 

13: Enjoying the Journey 

Couple throwing money.
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One person said they retired progressively their entire life, and now they live their dream life. “I studied, planned, worked, and saved for my future, not the present. Along with that, I had fun in the present with all that I’d learned, accomplished, and acquired to that point,” they said. “Think of money as something to be used, not spent.”

14: No Regrets 

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While one commenter says they haven’t retired yet, they said, “When you’re living your final days, looking back on life, are you going to remember all the times you played it safe and made responsible decisions? Or will you remember when you lived it up and had a great time?” 

15: Wanting What You Can’t Have 

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One millionaire says it’s an oxymoron of sorts. “The way to gain wealth is to be frugal in purchases and diligent in pursuing income.” They warn big spenders, “If you are flashy and MUST have the best car, tech, etc. you can get, it will almost never work. You will always, naturally, want a little more than what you make.” 

Source: Reddit.

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