Try Before You Buy
“Try before you buy” is pretty good advice for many things in life (think dating a person before you get married) and especially true when it comes to making major decisions in retirement planning. We were talking with a couple recently who are within a few years of retirement. Like many of our clients, they are thinking about buying an RV of some sort and touring the U.S. They went to an RV show and found “the perfect vehicle.” Part of our conversation with this client was about how to pay for the vehicle.
This couple are smart, savvy, energetic and not at all prone to sudden and emotional decisions so we were a little surprised that this topic came up. After discussing how they might pay for the vehicle, we suggested that they rent an RV and try out the RV lifestyle before they buy it. That way they will know if they can live in close quarters with another for a long time, if they can both drive the RV, and if they enjoy the RV experience in general. The couple agreed that they would rent before they buy their “perfect vehicle”.
The point of this story is not about buying an RV — it’s about exploring a lifestyle you may want to have in retirement before you fully commit to it. The same can be said for buying a boat, deciding to sail around the world, starting a new business in retirement, taking up a new sport, buying a vacation home, or moving to a new city when you retire. For example, if you’re thinking about moving to a different city when you retire, you might want to visit there three or four times and make one of them a longer stay for a couple of weeks at least. One of our clients tried out a new city for two years before they sold their house in the city and moved to a much smaller town. (BTW, it’s a great fit for them. They love the smaller town and are very integrated into the town culture.)
In your retirement planning, make a list of the life changes you’re considering and see how many of them you can “try before you buy.” You might save yourself a large expense and discover that you really don’t like the RV lifestyle.