Running Out of Money in Retirement

Running Out of Money in Retirement,, @donhurzeler

Will You Run Out of Money? 

The biggest worry I hear from people getting ready to retire is this…”I am afraid that I will run out of money.” Legit concern. Could happen. However, it is often avoidable. Here’s the thing…

If you retire with not enough money, or too early, or just barely enough money…you may run out of money in retirement. Happens all the time.

Or…if you retire and do not change your lifestyle, you may well run out of money. Unless you are just loaded with cash, retiring without making some lifestyle changes can run you off the financial cliff.

Ways To NOT Run Out of Money in Retirement 

And, having enough money for retirement INCLUDES having money set aside for disasters…see “Preparing for Disasters: Stuff Happens.”

So, if you are even a little concerned about making it to the finish line with money still in the bank, please consider the following list of retirement nest egg wealth diminishes:

  • A second home. Nothing takes up more time and cash than a second or third home. If it is an asset that you have set up to make a reliable net positive financial impact on your finances, cool. If it just sits there most weeks of the year, falling apart and waiting for you to visit, ditch it now. You can rent a place in the area for a heck of a lot less money.
  • Country club memberships. Mine use to cost me about $10,000 a year, plus I had a bunch of money tied up in “equity” for the membership. That $10,000 number is an “all in” number that includes meals, gratuities, locker fees…everything. I kept if for the first couple of years that I was retired and played golf until my hands bled. Loved it. Once I found I was not using it virtually everyday I quit, quit having to pay the ten grand a year and got back tens of thousands of dollars in equity. By the way, my country club costs were paid by my employer…until I retired. Once I retired…I had to pay them. Ouch. I changed my lifestyle and found a lot of great clubs in my area that let me play for $25 to $50 a round as a “Senior” local resident. At $50 a round I can play 200 rounds for $10,000 or pay about $600 for the 12 rounds a year I now play. No brainer.
  • Fancy cars. My wife’s car is a 2004 Mercedes that we bought new and it now has 40,000 miles on it. I drive a pickup. The Jeep I traded for the pickup was six years old. Just saying…fancy cars eat up a lot of money. Worth thinking about.
  • Motor homes or a boat. I would love to own one of each. However, they both cost a lot of money to buy, operate and store. I rent them if I need them.
  • Life insurance. I use to need life insurance. At age 70, I no longer have a need for it. My finances are planned in such a way that my spouse will have enough to live on (well) if I croak before she does.
  • And the list goes on…to include anything you have to pay a monthly payment on or big money purchases such as jewelry or extremely costly trips. Spending huge sums on landscape photography images from myself or the Lava Light Galleries is, obviously, a brilliant use of your retirement money.

Plan, Plan, Plan 

So…just saying…take a fresh look at what your lifestyle before retirement looks like, and then think about each item and how that cost can be reduced or eliminated in retirement. A bit of planning will keep you solvent for a lifetime.

Sorry for the long length of this blog. I will make up for it on the next one.


Don Hurzeler


Connect with Don on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, and purchase his latest book Smells Like Retirement: How to Create a Rock-Solid Plan for the Best Years of Your Life on Amazon. 
Learn more about the book here.


  1. John W. on April 11, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Other than unexpected major medical costs, you should have a very good idea of what you will need in retirement. You have DECADES of spending to determine what you will need. Most people, if they planned for retirement, will have far fewer expenses. When I retire, hopefully in 5 years, the kids will be out of college, and hopefully working. That’s 2 car payments ..and insurance.gone
    That’s 2 apartments and .living . Expenses gone. I won’t be paying into my 401k. The jouse will be .paid off. Excluding healthcare, which I jabe also planned for, I could EASILY live on 45% of my current salary, without giving away my way of life.

    • Don Hurzeler on April 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      John…sounds like you have it well in hand. Many many people did not plan as well as you. Your comments remind me of advice given me by an old boss. I complained that I made a lot of money, but after paying the expenses of two kids in college and our own rather nice life style…there was not much money left at the end of the month. He told me that life works like this….you start off poor as can be, you get a job and start to earn money and buy things, you have kids and that turns out to be expensive, the kids go to college and you go into debt, the kids graduate and move on to their adult life and you quickly pay off your debt and then…that is when you build up your wealth for retirement. Worked exactly like that for me…and sounds like it is working like that for you. Like you, I saved that 401 K money from day one and never touched it…and it is making our retirement spectacular. Good luck and thanks for the comment. Aloha.