Reaping the rewards

New retirees transition from saving to spending

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Retirement is supposed to be a time of relaxation and freedom to do whatever one's heart desires — travelling, spending time with grandchildren and enjoying the finer things in life.

In practice, however, many new retirees have a hard time adjusting. They can be extremely apprehensive to spend the money they spent decades accumulating.

“I've had some clients who want permission to spend their own money,” said Dwight Hoeck, a financial consult for Thrivent Financial. “I ask them, 'You saved and worked hard. What did you do it for?'”

Answering that is the first step in transitioning to life after work, and desired lifestyle is an essential component in planning for retirement. Most people want to have the same or slightly better quality of life as they did when they worked, said Hoeck.

“We sit down and figure out what your paycheck in retirement is going to be,” he said. “This covers all your living expenses with some left over. Then we sit down and talk about your monthly playcheck.”

And who wouldn't want a playcheck? The playcheck covers all of the fun things retirees can do to truly enjoy their golden years.

“This can be taking trips or giving gifts to the grandchildren,” said Hoeck. “It's money intended to help bring joy to your life. An annual playcheck budget of $12,000, which is modest for some, can be higher or lower based on what they earned and saved throughout their lifetime.”

But playchecks aren't a green light to go on crazy spending sprees, either.

“The people who run out of their retirement money and are now living on Social Security didn't have a plan,” said Hoeck.  “The biggest mistake people make is not planning for their future.”

Helping people make sound retirement decisions is what Thrivent Financial, a Christian-based investment firm, takes great pride in doing. The not-for-profit serves 2.3 million members nationwide. Originally, Thrivent Financial was created by members of the Lutheran Church, but later it expanded to serve all Christians.

“Most people spend more time planning vacations while they're working than they do their own retirements,” said Hoeck. “Seeking a professional to help you with the complexities is critical to being able to live life on your own terms.”

Thrivent says it helps Christians to be wise with their money and live generously. The company offers a broad range of financial products and services, including annuities, mutual funds and life insurance.

People typically wonder if they've got enough money to retire. That begs the question, “How much do you want to have?”

Knowing those answers helps provide a roadmap for people who plan and save. It also guides people on how to invest their money. This should include an analysis of income (IRAs, 401ks, savings and assets), understanding long-term inflation and tax diversification.

“It's a common mistake that people forget that retirement doesn't mean the end of taxes or what is taxable income,” said Hoeck. “Understanding how to diversify your portfolio gives you flexibility and protection from inflation, which is the evil that threatens people's savings. All of this can be scary to the average person.”

Fear and the psychology behind the emotion plays a role in how people will spend their money as they age.

“The number one fear of women is that they'll outlive their money and the number one fear of men is that they'll die too soon and leave their spouse without enough,” said Hoeck. “We can dial it in so that both of these worries can be minimized.”

Breaking the “Save, scrimp, do without” mindset can be rewarding as people realize it's OK to spend.

“It's time to harvest the fruits of your labor,” said Hoeck. “It's fun to see people realize that they can do whatever it is they want to do with less worry.”

For more information call (208) 664-6909 or visit


--Written by Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content


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