Tastes change as we get old(er). I remember as a kid, my grandma would serve us vanilla ice cream with malted milk powder sprinkled on top as dessert. You’d get it in a metal bowl that was cold in your hands, which somehow made the ice cream taste even better. It was great. At other times though, we’d be looking forward to ice cream and be given a fig newton instead. What a letdown. Compared to a bowl of ice cream, a fig newton is just not in the same category.
Fast forward about forty years and I’m now hooked on fig bars. Specifically, the Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars found at Costco. They’re not the fig newtons I remembered; these are big, hearty, and just sweet enough to be a treat. I love them because they fill me up enough when I’m craving a snack but not so sweet that I feel like I’m eating a bowl of ice cream. They’re…just right.
Just as our food cravings change over time, I’ve noticed that our financial desires shift as well. The big risks we may be willing to endure when we’re young become less attractive as we age. Risk-taking slowly morphs into a “just help us avoid getting blown-up” mindset. Naturally, this makes perfect sense. As our pasts become longer than our futures, the need for added security surpasses the desire for big wins. We begin to enjoy the heartiness of a fig bar instead of gorging ourselves on endless bowls of ice cream.
In my humble opinion, a life well-lived is one where we get to enjoy both, in proper measure. Financially speaking, we enjoy the security of a structured and predictable income stream in the form of social security, pension, annuity income, dividends, and interest. Every now and then, we savor that big bowl of ice cream with our favorite topping added. This looks like a year of sizable returns from stocks of successful companies. Again, in proper measure, we have the opportunity to enjoy both.
The financial success formula for retirees is one that allows us to live the life that’s most productive and enjoyable, without the worry of outliving one’s resources. This requires proper measure of the right ingredients. That’s the result and benefit of financial planning. I also believe that good planning should make provision for that big bowl of ice cream from time to time. You get to decide what that looks like for you; maybe it’s a boat, vacation home, sports car, or grandkid-spoiling. That’s the fun part, your reward for hard work.
I’m enjoying a fig bar as I write this. The stock market has been performing quite nicely. The income plans are working as designed, providing stability to those who appreciate it more than ever. So eat well, get some exercise, and also savor some ice cream, in proper measure.
Have a favorite treat? Email me. I’d love to hear it.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®