Spend Now or Save for a Rainy Day?

What’s your attitude?

This week a really close colleague, planning retiring in a few months, was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue. 18 months he reckoned.

That’s about as rainy as it gets and it does make one think.


A mix of both is what I have done.

When I had my cancer, treatment and a very uncertain future, knowing that I had savings to fall back on if needed very a great comfort to me. Since then and living on pension I have eaten a bit into my savings when I needed or wanted to. Now having them does mean that I can cope with the occasional needed big domestic spend, i.e. new boiler, by using my savings for the expense. Sometimes I replenish the savings other times I don’t.

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I think its a balance, dont miss out on what’s important while putting some aside for later. During my working life i was squirrelling funds away for early retirement like a daemon and in retrospect maybe could have lived more in the moment. However, it did permit retirement at 55 and now funds a relatively comfortable lifestyle.


I find this a difficult one - how does one know when you have enough to be able to retire and not run out of money before the pension kicks in? Once you’ve been out of the workplace for a few years it’s harder to regain the same earning power if you find yourself running out of money.

One may know now how much you have saved but it’s a big unknown how much inflation will be in the future. The BofE claim that inflation won’t rise too high in the near future (2% or 3% max) but with all the QE money printing I’m not so sure I believe them.


I had a close call with an rta some years ago and then a long road to recovery. I decided then not to miss out on anything I wanted and could afford. I have been lucky enough to be able put some money aside for a retirement that is able to pay the bills as necessary for my actuarial life span. Anything above that is to be used for life’s pleasures. Not going mad but at the same time not intending to leave much behind.


I think for a lot of people, Covid has shown how precious life is, and a real appreciation for family and friends, a simpler life and what really matters. I suspect a lot of people over estimate what they need to retire, so to anyone thats good with figures, relook at your pension, and your expenditure and see what is realistic. There are many expenses that just aren’t required when you retire. Obvious ones like petrol and transport costs, but then others less obvious ones which come about when you have more time, such as making your own lunch rather than spending £10 on a coffee and stale sandwich from a local shop, or DIY jobs that you enjoy but dont usually have the time to do, so you pay for someone to come in, and then there are off-peak holidays. So keep on top of your pension statements, and understand your expenditures, then let a spreadsheet help you decide

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True but in my case i retired when i could draw my pension not before so it was not a case of managing before my pension.

Could depend how one deals with a rainy day.
Do you buckle up, grit your teeth and step out bravely, or wait until it stops ?


Some final salary pensions (I know, not many left) can be beneficial if you take them early. In my case the total of all payouts was best if I retired at 55. Dont know why, just the way the figures presented themselves.

I wish I could have afforded to retire at 55 like some of my peers, but a combination of several private pension plans scarcely worth the paper they were printed on, and a couple of significant failed investments has me now retiring at 67. Luckily health has been on my side (and an enjoyable job), but having people close reaching the end of their time, plus a recent (fortunately not too serious) incident involving an apparently blind car driver while on my bike have been salutory moments. None of us know how long we have, however much we may feel immortal, and it is important to make the best of it.

Regarding the thread title, clearly it is a balance - and no-one knows where it is best struck, so a combination of enjoy the time you have, while as far as reasonably practicably ensuring you will be able to enjoy that unknown future - and if you have offspring, consideration for what you feel is right to help them on their way through this tricky but amazing path called life.


I had a couple of those - thankfully it was early in my career, and after I always stayed on the cautious side of investments. I do very much realise how lucky I am, but the decision was also helped by people dyeing early, plus being a grandad to twins who I enjoy helping out with. I tend to be on the Save side of things, with my Naim habit currently propped up by Birthday pressies, and recently selling old stuff I no longer need, plus some unexpected inheritance. I’ve always wanted a Jag, but my wife tells me that my daughter is my Jag, and thats now moved to my grandchildren. I’m quite content at that!


As ever, striking the correct balance is key: unfortunately hindsight is as useless as it is wonderful.

I am 63 in July, and have just spent 12 days in hospital with pancreatitis. However, my ailment seemed minor compared to those suffered by some of the other patients.

I only do a 3 day week in a low paid job, but my stay in hospital made me think that in the new year I should either ask to drop to 2 days a week, or pack it in entirely. Its not really the job its the 50 miles a day commute.

All our circumstances are different: make a considered decision and stick with it ( see above re: hindsight)

Best, Al


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