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Why 60% of younger generations prefer experiences to retirement savings

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  • Prioritizing present happiness can be as valuable as saving for the future.
  • Investing in home repairs, driving lessons, and a gravel bike has brought joy and fulfillment.
  • Financial planning should be personalized to align with individual values and needs.

Life has a way of throwing curveballs that can dramatically alter our perspectives and priorities. For a 36-year-old widow, the sudden loss of her husband in 2017 was one such event that reshaped her approach to financial planning. Instead of adhering to the conventional wisdom of saving diligently for retirement, she chose to invest in her present happiness and well-being. This decision, while unconventional, has brought her a sense of fulfillment and joy that she believes is just as valuable as financial security in the future.

"I believe in financial literacy and responsible money management, but my experiences have led me to prioritize the present over future savings, at least for now," she explains. This shift in perspective was influenced by her upbringing, where she observed her father's frugal ways and adopted a "waste-not-want-not" mentality. However, the loss of her husband made her realize the importance of enjoying life in the moment.

Instead of contributing significantly to her Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), she has chosen to save for three things that bring her joy and enrich her life: home repairs, driving lessons, and a gravel bike. These investments are not just about spending money; they represent a deeper commitment to living a fulfilling life.

Home Repairs: For many, a home is more than just a place to live; it is a sanctuary. Investing in home repairs has provided her with a sense of security and comfort. "When the pressure to save for retirement mounts during tax season, I remind myself that my home is my biggest investment and, in a sense, my retirement fund," she says. By ensuring her home is well-maintained, she is investing in her present and future well-being.

Driving Lessons: Learning to drive has opened up new opportunities for independence and freedom. As a freelancer with her own business, having the ability to drive is not just a convenience but a necessity. "These investments help me sleep better at night, provide new learning opportunities, and represent fun and freedom," she shares. Driving lessons have empowered her to navigate life with more confidence and autonomy.

Gravel Bike: The purchase of a gravel bike symbolizes fun and freedom. It is an investment in her physical health and mental well-being. Cycling has become a source of joy and a way to explore the world around her. "I've come to believe that I deserve to enjoy my money, not just save it for an uncertain future," she asserts. The gravel bike is a reminder that life is meant to be lived fully, with moments of adventure and excitement.

Her story is a testament to the idea that financial planning is not a one-size-fits-all approach. While saving for retirement is important, it is equally crucial to find a balance that allows for present enjoyment and future security. "This doesn't mean reckless spending, but rather making the right financial decisions for my life in the present," she clarifies. Her approach is about making thoughtful choices that align with her values and current needs.

In a world where the pressure to save for retirement can be overwhelming, her journey offers a refreshing perspective. It is a reminder that financial freedom is not just about accumulating wealth for the future but also about making meaningful investments in the present. By prioritizing home repairs, driving lessons, and a gravel bike, she has found a way to live a life that is rich in experiences and joy.

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