Q&A With Gordon Pape: Spending It All Before The Big Sleep

What if I don’t want to leave any money behind?

Q – I want to spend all my savings before I die. I am male age 61 and have a variety of health issues. So I am looking at my portfolio and trying to figure out how I could spend it all plus my pension in 20 years or sooner. My question is can I reliably predict I will be dead by then? Actuary studies just give averages and my GP and cardiologist don’t forecast an end date anytime soon. – Jerry L.

A – We often hear people say they want to spend their last penny on the day they depart this Earth. It’s the “you-can’t-take-it-with-you” philosophy. But short of suicide, there is no way of predicting when any of us will go. You say you have a variety of health issues. That may be, but medical science is evolving very rapidly and new cures are being found all the time that a few years ago no one could have dreamed of. The problems you have now may be curable in five years and you might live well beyond your target date for running out of money. Then what?

Since we don’t know how long we’ll be around, the best course is to be prudent with your finances. Don’t be profligate and blow everything in the expectation your time is limited to 10 or 20 years. Invest your money wisely so as to generate enough income to supplement your pension without taking undue risk. And cheer up. Stop dwelling on death and enjoy your life. You’ve earned it. – G.P.

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