10 Things Baby Boomers Should Never Buy in Retirement
Protect your retirement savings with these smart spending choices.
For the Baby Boomers—a.k.a. those Americans born between 1946 and 1964—retirement is top of mind. Either they're in the midst of the post-work years or seeing them get closer and closer on the calendar. It's no secret that a successful retirement is all about careful planning, but prudent financial decisions are also important long after you've drawn your last paycheck. For example: Avoiding certain purchases that retired people should never make. These are ten things Baby Boomers should never buy in retirement.
It's a fundamental rule of retirement, for good reason: Bet on high-risk investments like stocks when you're younger and have time to recoup from any dips in the market; when you get closer to retirement and may actually need to access those funds), move your investments into safer territory, like bonds. After retirement is not the time to buy high-risk investments.
Life insurance exists to provide for any dependents if you should pass away before they're grown. If you're retired, chances are you have adult children capable of fending for themselves. You may still be carrying a life insurance policy (and paying expensive premiums) for coverage that's no longer necessary.
Investments with high fees, such as actively managed mutual funds with high expense ratios, can be counterproductive at any age, but they're especially costly after retirement when you're looking at less time for market gains to cover the fees your broker's fees. Low-cost index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will ensure more of your money goes to you and stays with you.
Timeshares are expensive, and if you decide you want to release yourself from the investment—because of sudden illness, financial need, or you're just not using it—it can be difficult and cost much more than you think.
It's an article of faith, but it's still true: New vehicles depreciate 30% as soon as you drive them off the lot. If you need a car, would a pre-owned vehicle backed by a manufacturer's warranty save you money for other retirement-related expenses?
Downsizing is common in retirement for good reasons: Large homes can rack up more than they might be worth in property taxes, utility bills, and maintenance. Do you really need all the space you're living in, or are considering? Might a smaller home provide you with more financial freedom to pursue other things you love to do?
Memberships at high-end golf clubs, country clubs, or gyms can promise a lot. They can also cost more than they're worth. Ask yourself: Is this membership cost-effective, or can I let it go and spend the difference on more satisfying activities elsewhere?
If you always got the newest and best electronics and gadgets when you were working, it's important to accept that your income streams have changed. Electronics rarely appreciate in value. Is it so important to upgrade right now, or will your current product do just fine until a truly game-changing development comes along?
Investing in high-risk real estate projects or speculative properties is tempting, but retirement is not the time to do it. Stick to real estate investments with a proven track record of stability and income generation.
It's especially important to be careful about taking on new debt, especially high-interest credit card debt, in retirement, when your income is more limited than it used to be. To ensure a comfortable future, prioritize paying off any current debt and be very careful about any new borrowing.