Help Retirees Live Champagne Lifestyles on Beer Budgets

Living large doesn’t necessarily require spending a lot of money, even for those that have deep pockets.

By Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders

Even if your client is in good financial shape, the reality of retirement can be boring. One day starts to look like another. The engaging social relationships of the workplace have disappeared. Children have lives of their own. So, how can your client stay social and capture the luxurious and exciting retirement lifestyle that they have dreamed about?

Let us assume your client isn’t wildly rich but is moderately comfortable. Kicking the pack-a-day smoking habit is also giving them a few hundred extra dollars in their pocket each month. Their children are financially self-sufficient. They are not burdened with excessive debt. Put another way, the retirement income projections show them living to age 100 with money to spare. Still, living to 100 is a long time and they want to be mindful of that, especially since longevity runs in the family. So how can they live that champagne lifestyle on a beer budget?

One of the first things they need to do is align their financial lifestyle with their vacation lifestyle.  They need credit cards that will earn them airline or hotel points. They need to choose an airline and hotel chain, focusing their stays and flights accordingly.

Here are some other ideas:

Take lots of cruises

It seems when money was cheap, cruise lines ordered new ships.  They are in service now. Although some cruise lines promote their ultra luxury status, in reality almost every cruise line delivers the luxury lifestyle experience. Become an expert at seeking out cruise deals, especially “sailing soon savings.” One example I use is com. Ideally you live near a homeport. Their recent e-mail talked about a five-night Mediterranean cruise starting at $38/per person per night in double occupancy; seven nights to Alaska starting at $42/per person per night; and 16 nights sailing through the Panama Canal starting at $47/per person per night. Some cruises offer discounts for those age 55-plus. Cruising in generally all inclusive once onboard. Airline points might buy you the flight; sometimes the cruise lines get attractive airfares.

Play lots of golf

Here is a sport often associated with both luxury lifestyles and retirement.  Private clubs are pricy, but public courses might average $20-35 a round. If your client likes golf, it is an easy way to enjoy a few hours and make new friends. If your client lives in a state like California or Florida with nice weather most of the year, they can play every month.

Discover road trips

When people think about vacations they often think of European capitals, fancy hotels and expensive airfares. There are plenty of great destinations within driving distance of your home. Pull out a map (remember those) and draw a fifty-mile radius around your city. This should represent about two hours driving time. There should be plenty of places with cute country inns, cities you have always meant to visit, and maybe beach and ski resorts. In addition to their cruises, your client could take a driving vacation each month.

Swap houses with distant friends

Now take the road trip idea a bit further. Your client lives in a nice area. They might live in Midtown Manhattan.  Another friend lives in a beach resort like Virginia Beach. Encourage them to consider swapping houses for a week with a trusted friend. It might be the client’s brother or an extended family member. Everyone knows each other, so they can feel their house is in safe hands. Each party gets a prime location that would cost a fortune to visit if they stayed in a hotel. 

Additional Reading: 10 Ways to Boost Turnout at Firm-Sponsored Events

Form a dinner club

Your client likes cooking, but it sometimes feels like it’s not worth the trouble to cook an elaborate meal for just one or two people. This is an idea where you, as their advisor, could take the lead!  Find six couples. You and your partner are one couple.  Now find five retired client couples. Everyone agrees to host a dinner for 12 people twice a year. In exchange, each couple has ten dinner parties they are allowed to attend! If all six couples like to dress up, this can be formal entertaining!

Take cooking classes through the community school

Suppose your client doesn’t know eight or ten people who can cook.  Suppose they are all thumbs in the kitchen. Ten people do not want to be exposed to their poor cooking! Suggest they enroll in a cooking class at the community school. Here is an example from our area.  Culinary classes are on page 3.  They will learn to cook, which will save them money in the long run. Maybe a future dinner club is not so far fetched!

Attend charity galas

Your client should get involved in the community. They probably already contribute to charity. The Spring and Fall are the “gala season” for nonprofits.  Formal events like the Met Ball in NYC are very pricey, but lots of local organizations hold events where members get to dress up and support the cause. This includes events like garden parties, summer BBQs and plenty of cocktail parties. Your client is already giving to charity.  Why not dress up and have a good time too!

Take on a volunteer leadership role

Your client has time on their hands in retirement. They feel strongly about a cause. They may have lots of life experience getting things done in the corporate world. Have they considered taking on a board position at a local charity?  Their passion, combined with their leadership skills, can help the group achieve great things. Your client will increase their community visibility and stature.

Get more involved with one’s religious community

If your client is affiliated with a religious community, this is an ideal time for them to get more involved. Congregations are often the heart of the community for people of the same faith. They hold picnic and galas. They have service clubs. They welcome new members and counsel the bereaved. Getting more involved will introduce them to other people of all ages in their community. They will have more social events to attend.

Become a subject matter expert

Your client has a hobby. They also have more spare time than they can fill. Their hobby could be the starting point for articles they can write on that subject. The articles can lead to a book. Self-publishing is very easy today. Books no longer need to be printed on paper. They can be published online.  If still want to publish a book you can hold, but don’t want to worry about selling hundreds of copies, they can explore on-demand publishing. Their expertise might lead to speaking at local community groups.  It might even lead to speaking on cruise ships! Who knows!

Retirement does not need to be boring. Retirees can enjoy the champagne lifestyle of seeming to be constantly on vacation, attending dinner parties, dressing up for galas and being recognized as an authority on their favorite subject.  As their advisor, you can point them in the right direction.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.  He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry.  His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.


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