People love to create bucket lists. They are a fun way to set up goals, push yourself and achieve your dreams. You never know what following a list will lead to, or the people you will meet along the way. I wanted to learn more. In this month's podcast I talked with financial experts Ian Castille and Gary Sirak about bucket lists on our "(Un)Retirement Wisdom with the Pros" segment.
Bucket lists are all over the map. They are personal and unique and sometimes surprising. My friend Matt Coen and his wife Emily had their "50 by 50" bucket list to see all 50 states by age 50. They just completed North Dakota and South Dakota number 49 and 50. I know another couple that watched every James Bond movie (there are 27 films). Others, (including my wife) want to visit every national park in the US (63 national parks).
Both experts say that money doesn't buy happiness but it can buy fulfilling, even once-in-a lifetime experiences. Or maybe your bucket list is really a wish list, where you set out to do all the things you wished you could've done but were working. Either way, knowing what you want, without compromising your financial security is pretty darn important in this second half of your life!
Some highlights from our segment:
Ian tends to approve and disapprove certain bucket list items, based on discussions with clients about the financial sense and quality of life perspective.
Here are some common requests from clients:
Luxury African Safari: Probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience--approved!
Kitchen remodel: Spending more time at home, quality of life, possible resale value--approved!
Giving children money for home down payments: Really big expense that will most likely not be paid back--maybe. It is critical to understand that this move would not compromise YOUR financial health in any way.
Second "vacation" home: Double your costs plus if you rent it out, it becomes a part-time job for you--not approved!
Gary prefers to call it a Wish List vs a Bucket List. First, he has each partner fill out a form about their dream wish list. This exercise is eye-opening and very helpful for discussion. (Sometimes partners have totally different wishes and priorities!)
Here are two unique client requests:
Client owned a machine shop and sold it, $3 million in a 401K. Asked to take out $1 million because he had a life dream of being a professional poker player. Paid taxes on the sum and lived off of it while forging his new career. He was successful for many years, played the circuits and won tournaments.
Client wants a wish list item to include money for casino trips. Gary is not sure they win more than they lose, but it's something clients really want to do, they enjoy it.
With all of these examples, following your dreams is great, as long as you check with a trusted advisor to make certain you are not compromising your financial security. Now get out there and have some fun!