Should we save or spend?

How much money will we need for a comfortable retirement? I’ve just turned 60 and a couple of years ago I would now have my state pension. But with changes to the state retirement age, I won’t now receive it till I’m 66.

If I had stayed working for a large organisation and got my index linked pension after 40 years’ service, I’d probably have left at 60. I’d have received a good pension and would have moved into a traditional retirement with time for hobbies, friends, and volunteering.


It’s different working for myself. My pension will be about half what I would have got, but I also plan to continue to work for many years to come. That’s one of the benefits of being self-employed. If I’ve got my brain I can still earn. I like my work, but it would be nice to have the freedom to do more. I now need to decide though how much to save or spend.

I made choices; would I have been happy continuing in the work I did for another 20 years?
Id reached a point where I was successful but felt hard to be me in the job. With the offer of redundancy and my engagement to Simon who lived 70 miles away it was a good choice to leave.

Over this time, I’ve enjoyed the freedom to travel more. It also helped when I had depression in the past, I could take the time to recover and to adapt the work I did to suit my health.

Do I save or spend?

What’s important to me now is to have flexibility to live the life that’s right for me.
In the early days of working for myself this was lucrative overseas assignments and working long days, as I built my business. I know have varied days – longer days when I’m writing, but much easier to take time out. I’m more confident to be in control of my diary and to schedule personal commitments so work suits my life.

The downside with this type of work is that it never ends. There’s always another blog post to write, or article to read, I’ve got better at managing my time but still find it hard to switch off.
Much of this work doesn’t bring me income, but it does help to be known which leads to people contacting me about working with me.

I’m saving, but not prioritising saving over living.

I need to decide how to allocate what I save or spend.

I know too many people who when asked whether they will save or spend, focus on saving. They make plans of all the things they will do when they retire, but tragedy strikes, and they never get to travel. I met a lovely widow on my latest holiday whose husband died in his 50s and they never got to visit the places they dreamed of going to. Oh, how she wishes when considering whether to save or spend they had chosen to spend more. She’s now travelling, but its alone, it’s not the same.

What I want are experiences

I love to travel, so I’m making sure I do plenty of this while I still have my health. Turning 60 I planned for 3 good holidays – both Christmases and for my birthday week. Next year will be a more economical year but who knows what I’ll be like at 70. I need more money for my holidays now, but as I age and travel less, we will be able to manage on less money. So I think I have the right balance between to save or spend.

I was reading about millennials spending habits recently. They are saving, but not for retirement. Its financial freedom they want. Their view is

Why postpone the freedom and flexibility for the final years of life, in which you might not be mentally or physically able to enjoy it?

Its experiences they want, not material possessions. Not just the long-haul holidays, but having time to enjoy life too, time for family and friends and their health, not working 70-hour weeks. That’s the philosophy I’m aiming for.

What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you decide to save or spend. What you are doing both now in your 50s and 60s and future plans? Feel free to make a note below.

Published On: September 4th, 2017 / Categories: Money /

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.