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Monday, March 2, 2015

Dying broke: a worthwhile retirement goal?

Recently I read an article in reviewing a book by Dr. Stanley Riggs, called "Build Wealth and Spend It All: Live the Life You Earned". The article, which you can read by clicking here, summarizes Dr. Riggs' philosophy of "a financial plan geared toward spending your money while you are still young enough to enjoy it, so you don't run the risk of dying with some of your money unspent".

This really got me thinking. I tried to recall clients of my own who had actively planned the spending of every last dollar they owned, and I couldn't think of a single one. Certainly I'd met plenty of people over the years who said how convenient it would be to spend your last dollar on your last day, but I cannot recall meeting anyone who actually set up a formal plan for that to happen.

The article goes on to raise some important considerations for those who are thinking about trying to spend everything. The most glaring one, in my view, is that we just don't know how long we'll live. A crystal ball would be very helpful in the retirement planning and estate planning fields, but so far nobody's come up with an accurate one!

Personally, I don't consider it a waste if I have money left over when I pass away. Perhaps I just don't want to take the risk that I'll run out of money. Or perhaps it's because I'm a parent and therefore I have someone who'd be happy to have an inheritance. Even for those who aren't parents, there are worthwhile charitable organizations and scholarships that would ensure any leftover money was not wasted.

Are any of you readers interested in the idea of spending it all before you die? I'd love to hear about it.


  1. I'm not at all interested in dying broke, but I'll admit the thought did enter my mind recently when I looked at the fine print on my MasterCard bill and noticed that BMO was giving me 92 years to pay my off my balance (assuming minimum payments are made regularly). Instead, I paid off my balance, made my TFSA contribution and rebalanced our RESP.

  2. I am living and enjoying my life the best I can. I am a parent and most parents never stop looking out for their children. That will never change. It's in our DNA.

    1. As a general rule, I'd agree with that. Over the years though, I've met a number of parents who are convinced their kids will only spend the inheritance on drugs or liquor that they leave their estates to someone else. I've also met several who believe in the "tough love" approach of not leaving their kids money so that the kids will learn to earn their own, and value it so much more. However, these two types of parents are in the minority; by far the majority want to figure out how to leave what they have leftover to the kids.


  3. My fear is being old and not able to provide for myself. I don't wish anyone to have to provide for me either. So, if i knew which day I was to die, it would be easy! Since I don't, I continue to be prudent, to make my saving lasts. Sure i could spend more now, be more comfortable, but i strive for a balance, a few 'treats' and being careful. If that means there's a chunk left for my children and grands, so be it. They've learned to be 'money wise', so what is left will benefit their families. It's the best and most sensible thing I can do.


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