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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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.”
Top 1% Earners by State
Whether earning income in the top 1% of your state feels like a pipe dream or a plausible reality, one thing is certain: What constitutes a 1% earner varies wildly by state.
Most to Least Expensive States to Retire
Are you looking to move state borders during retirement? From Medicare contributions to taxes and housing costs, these are the best (and worst) states to retire from a financial perspective.
30 Best Countries for Retirement
Some people dream of moving to a different state when they retire; others dream of moving overseas. US News & World Report ranked the best countries for a comfortable retirement. The U.S. made the cut, but do you know where it ranks?
18 Common Misconceptions About Poverty
Far too many people have misconceptions about poverty, according to hundreds of people who took to an online forum. The troubling part? You might be poor even though you don’t see yourself that way.
15 Millionaires Spill the Beans on How They Became So Wealthy
Want to become rich? One person asked millionaires on the internet to share how they became so wealthy, and this is how they responded.