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Your money afraid to spend why its okay to enjoy your money


When Stan Calow was growing up, frugality was a way of life: "You spend as little as you need to, and then save everything else." So, the 58-year-old engineer and U.S. Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri always hated spending money. It took his financial planner, Cindy Richey, to drill the point into him that it was actually okay to enjoy his savings once in a while. After much prodding, the message finally got through. Calow and his wife just returned from a trip to France, touring the chateaux of the Loire Valley, just like they had always dreamed. Says Calow, who learned about the fragility of life by serving in Kosovo: "I wanted to live life while I'm still young enough to enjoy it."It's a tricky dilemma for many of us. As much as pundits tell us to scrimp, and save, and sacrifice for the future, when is it actually okay to spend a little on yourself and enjoy this life that passes all too quickly?Indeed, according to a new survey, many of us are not enjoying it enough. When Wells Fargo asked affluent Americans about what they regretted most about their finances, 15 percent said "not having enjoyed their money more". It is an honest answer that you do not often encounter in financial surveys. After all, splurging on yourself is typically seen as selfish and gauche.

But as some planners point out, it's your money, and you should not be made to feel bad about enjoying it occasionally."People are so nervous about outliving their money, and sometimes they shoot too far in their saving," says Joe Nadreau, director of innovation and strategy for Wells Fargo Advisors. "You don't want to come to the end with $3 million saved, but having sacrificed your whole life along the way."Of course, leaving an inheritance is still an important consideration, according to 57 percent of affluent Americans in the Wells Fargo survey. But just remember that once the will is read, you are six feet under, and no longer around to witness your family enjoy that wealth.

A BANK OF MEMORIES So try thinking of the concept of 'inheritance' a little differently: Instead of purely in terms of dollar bills, consider it as a set of memories, which you can create together as a family while you are still alive."We have recently noticed a sizable uptick in clients who are more interested in sharing their wealth in the form of experiential gifts," says John Fowler, a planner in Keller, Texas.

"It might mean taking the entire family on a cruise, or paying the airfare to fly in to see grandma and grandpa in Arizona, Colorado, or Florida. At the end of the day our clients realize stuff is just stuff, but with a little effort, they can create a memory for their families that will last a lifetime."Keep in mind that splurging on yourself doesn't mean you become miserly with others. It is not an either/or proposition; You can treat yourself once in a while, and also be generous with charitable causes that are meaningful to you."People call me all the time to get permission to enjoy their money, which I heartily give them," says Dave Ramsey, a popular radio host and author of "The Legacy Journey.""Often the thing that breaks it loose for people is to increase their giving. Because the more generous you are, the more you get permission to spend on yourselves."As for Kansas City's Stan Calow, he looks forward to traveling the world with his wife, and enjoying future grandchildren. It was hard to get him to enjoy those savings, but now he's making up for lost time. This thought, in particular, came to mind when he was walking the streets of Paris recently:"It's a shame to work so hard all the best years of your life, just so you can afford to survive in the worst years of your life."

Your money the last taboo why nobody talks about money


(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)By Chris TaylorNEW YORK, March 27 Everyone knows there are a few hot-button topics that can make any conversation go nuclear. Religion. Health. Politics. Death. But when it comes to the most difficult conversation you can possibly have, a new survey from Wells Fargo & Co found one clear winner: money. Money landed right at the top, says Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank. "I don't know that we expected that."In fact, 44 percent of Americans point to personal finances as the most challenging chat anyone can possibly have. Even the existentially terrifying topic of death, which you might expect to top such a survey, comes in second at 38 percent. Also far behind are perennially explosive topics like politics at 35 percent, and religion, 32 percent. Wondering who would rather talk about anything in the universe other than personal finances? Meet Denver's Natasha Lannerd."I am definitely one of those people," says the national sales manager for an organic tea company. "It kills me to talk about it, just kills me. I have had this problem so long, I don't even know when it started."Lannerd, 28, says the silence was originally a family trait. Nobody in her house ever spoke about money when she was a kid, so she never got in the habit of talking about it as an adult."I grew up in a single-parent family, we didn't have a lot, and we just never talked about it," she recalls. "As a result, when I grew up and started making a fair amount of money, I never had a plan and could never stick to a budget."I started to worry that I would work 50 hours a week for 20 years and end up with zero dollars in my savings account. I didn't want that to happen to me."

She was finally able to broach the subject with the help of financial planner Maggie Kirchhoff, who forced her to get her fiscal house in order. But without that encouragement, she figures she might have kept her lips zipped indefinitely. So what exactly is going on here? In a society that is ostensibly one of the wealthiest in the world, why is everyone so frightened to talk about such a basic subject?"It is such a loaded conversation, and there is so much subtext and hidden meaning wrapped up in money," says Daniel Crosby, a behavioral finance expert and head of IncBlot Organizational Psychology in Huntsville, Alabama."Money is shorthand for happiness, power, and personal efficacy, so it can be very scary," Crosby says. "When money is short, it can be seen as a deficiency on the part of the breadwinner, and when there is lots of money, there can be fears that greed takes the place of genuine love."Whatever the reason for avoiding the subject - money mistakes, embarrassment, fear of conflict - silence is no long-term solution. Here are four key principles to keep in mind to help you get over the hump and talk openly about your finances:

OTHERS FEEL THE SAME WAY People often keep their mouths shut about money because they feel alone and scared. If you know that virtually everyone else you see on the street is thinking and feeling the same thing, perhaps you would not be so reticent."People having hard conversations about money should be upfront about the difficulty and discomfort," says Crosby, who wrote the book "You're Not That Great" about our human tendency toward behavioral screwups. "And those receiving the news should appropriately respect the trust it takes to have such a hard conversation."SILENCE HURTS YOU When we put off the hard conversations in life, we tend to think of it as benign procrastination: We will get to it all eventually.

Instead, we should think of silence as damaging the quality of our lives. Without attention, after all, money problems only tend to get bigger."Being withholding about money is a form of loss of intimacy," says Crosby. "Where there is no intimacy, the relationship will die, guaranteed."SILENCE HURTS OTHERS If you tend to clam up about cash, pause for a moment and think about the longer-term effects. As seen with Natasha Lannerd, you are likely to pass your traits down to your kids, who might turn pass them to their kids. Your bad habits could be amplified 50 years down the road."What we know about money, we generally learn from our parents," says Wells Fargo's Wimbish. "If you are a parent and you are not having money conversations with your kids, you are handicapping the next generation of savers and investors."YOU CAN ASK FOR HELP Even if you never talk about money and would not even know where to start, people who deal with this stuff for a living can help you finally loosen your tongue. Find a professional financial planner at sites like plannersearch.org or napfa.org."If I wanted to learn how to play the violin, I would get a tutor," says Lannerd. "The same thing with talking about money: I really needed to someone to help coach me through this."Once I actually started talking about it, I realized it's not as scary a subject as I thought."