Advice & Features Articles

The Empty Nest

Is now the right time to make that big purchase?

by Alicia Wanek

Listen… is it quiet around your house? If you’re an empty nester, you have survived the days of sibling rivalry, carpools, and the chaos of getting the kids off to school each morning. Maybe the only pitter-patter of tiny feet you hear is when the grandkids come to visit. Now is the time to focus on you.

Many couples begin to evaluate their lifestyle as they move into this next stage.  Frequently they also consider making what Chuck Cowell at Guaranty Bank & Trust calls “non-necessity luxury purchases.”  Perhaps you’re considering a beach or mountain home where the entire family can get together or a bucket list vacation to some exotic location you’ve always wanted to see.

The question is: Do you have enough to make that big purchase without jeopardizing your retirement?

First, Chuck reminds you to ensure that you can meet your monthly obligations. Even if your house is paid off, you still have monthly expenses and taxes, for example. Next is to fully evaluate all the expenses associated with your purchase, with extra for any unforeseen expenditures. You never know if you might fall ill during a vacation or when repairs need to be made.

It’s a delicate balance, evaluating your current finances and looking at what you have to spend in the future.  Although many baby boomers have saved for years, they have been most impacted by the low interest rates in recent years.  Their investments may be barely keeping up with inflation. Especially if you’re not generating additional earnings, the value of your savings may not have changed measurably.

Is there a bright side? Of course. Now is a good time to travel.  Low fuel prices for airlines and gas prices for automobiles are decreasing overall travel expenses. There are bargains to be had if you take the time to investigate the possibilities. Additionally, although investment portfolios can take a hit quickly, they can also swing way up.  You may just need to wait for the best time to make that luxury purchase.

Ultimately, Chuck reminds us to “Go enjoy life. That’s what you saved for.”  After all, you can’t take it with you when you go.

Editor’s Note: Chuck Cowell is Dallas Market Chairman for Guaranty Bank & Trust.  Reach out to him for more information on this or any financial question at ccowell@gnty.com.

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