Personal Finance column: Retirement FOMO — five ways to avoid it |

Personal Finance column: Retirement FOMO — five ways to avoid it

Danielle Howard
Danielle Howard

In your various social media feeds, you see your friends and acquaintances visiting family, traveling to exotic locals, eating tantalizing food, driving their new car, attending a coveted cultural event, enjoying their new retirement home. It is human to succumb to FOMO — the fear of missing out. Here are five ways you can keep FOMO and the financial repercussions at bay.

The origin of FOMO

You still have 24 hours in the day, but now you have to make new choices about what to do with it. When you see what everyone else is spending their money on it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the financial tensions of what you need and desire for today as opposed to down the road.

The financial services and pharmaceutical industries only expound the problem. Media portrays retirement happiness as mature couples walking on the beach or sitting on a flower covered hillside in matching bathtubs. It leaves you feeling like you are not enough and lacking in various facets of this new season of life.

FOMO is the updated terminology for “Keeping up with the Joneses.” It is alive and well at every age but needs to be recognized and intentionally battled as you live a life of no regrets in your vesper years.

It can wreak havoc on your financial resources and pull you away from what will truly bring meaning and purpose to your fall season of life.

Prioritize connections over acquisitions. The one with the most toys does not win. Invest your financial resources, time and energy in cultivating the skills and engagements that will support you in healthy relationships. This brings more fulfillment to our lives.

Your spending plan needs to include the costs associated in augmenting these rich relationships. Your friendships may change due to known or unforeseen circumstances. What do you want to do to maintain and nurture standing friendships and what needs to be done to cultivate and make new ones? Is your family close by, or are they in locales that will require travel?

Embrace the moment. We have heard it “take time to smell the roses.” Do it. Linger over a home cooked meal with family or friends. Amble through the woods. Dip your toes in the stream that before, you quickly walked by. Take time to watch a rainbow dissipate.

I have a hard time not “sharing” my inspiring moment, but I am catching myself more often. I leave the phone or turn it off in order to get the most out of an occasion. Participate in and relish pleasurable experiences rather than rushing through them or trying to “capture” them.

As you look at where you are spending your money, do it within safe boundaries and with joyful intention. Everyone has different financial boundaries. Some folks have more and others less. Your pleasurable moments are not defined by the amount of money spent on them. Many beautiful moments don’t cost a thing, we just need to open our eyes to them.

Be at peace with enough. Know the difference between a “soul need” and an “ego desire.” Soul needs are satiable. When we spend money on them, they feed us and fill us. When we know what we truly value and use our financial resources to live out those values, we are at peace.

Ego desires, on the other hand, leave us feeling empty and in need of more. There is a futility, emptiness, possibly credit card debt, or the inability to grow your net worth and self-worth when we indulge in our impulses for short-lived gratification.

Focus on gratitude daily. Our days bloom with meaning and purpose when we have an attitude of gratitude. We can look at a friend’s post or listen to a conversation and be truly happy for them. If FOMO is the fear of not having something that we perceive is necessary for our well-being, gratitude is the converse and allows us to truly feel the blessings in living every day. Financially, this keeps us from aimlessly spending money on ego desires to impress people we don’t even know.

Find dignity in the aging process. There is an end. No amount of peptides, crossword puzzles, stem cell therapy, sports cars or workout regimes will keep it from coming.

Yes, we want to age well — keeping our brains engaged, our bodies in peak performance and our outlook focused on the positive, but for each of us, we need to keep an eye on the tipping point. There is a point where your return on investment doesn’t enhance your return on life. It’s your money, and you need to decide how to use it. Know what you have and how to best utilize it for liquidity, lifestyle, longevity and legacy purposes.

If you are within five years of retirement we invite you to download your copy of Monetary Manifesto today.

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. Her office, Wealth By Design LLC, is in Basalt. Visit her at Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.

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