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Don’t SKI, instead SYM!


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I often hear people saying that they enjoy SKIing. “SKI” (Spending the Kids’ Inheritance) has been adopted in recent years as a justification, or explanation for why we are spending money in retirement. For some reason, we feel a need to have to justify this.

My view, is that you should instead, SYM (Spend Your Money). After all, the money is yours! You have earned it over a number of years, you have carefully invested it, you have watched the ups and downs in the markets along the way and have protected the money for your retirement. Why then, do we feel the need to justify spending money on ourselves?

The biggest challenge I have with clients in retirement, is getting them to spend their money. It is a very hard shift to make when we retire; all our lives we have been saving and have watched balances go up over time. There should come a point when that reverses, and we start spending the money. Our account balances should go down.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with leaving money to children, or helping them financially along the way. My point is that we should not compromise our lifestyle, for fear of not leaving them enough when we eventually die.

You also don’t want to be in a position where you are leaving money to your children by accident. A good financial adviser will have discussions with you about the baseline amount of money or assets you want to past your children. They would then go on to consider how you are going to spend the rest of the money above this amount, through your lifetime. This could be personal spending, gifts to children or family during your lifetime, or gifts to charity.

Consider your own parents.… If they had chosen not to go on a holiday, not to do certain things they had the opportunity to do all because they did not want to spend money that could have passed on to you, what would you have said to them? Personally, I would tell my parents to spend their money, do everything they want to do, have no regrets and not worry about what may or may not come to me.

Having a plan is vital. The plan does not have to be fixed but can be varied throughout your lifetime as things change, because if you have a plan, you will never be SKIing as that money should be set to one side and protected, you will only ever SYM!

The opinions expressed in this article are of a personal nature, and do not constitute financial advice. We recommend seeking financial advice regarding your personal circumstances.