Investors Grapple With Question: When to Spend Savings?
Pittsburgh — After working hard at a job or business for decades — scrimping and saving for the better part of a lifetime — many people wrestle with the question of when to spend the money they’ve accumulated.
“I often mention to our clients that I have yet to see a Brinks truck full of money following a hearse at a funeral procession,” said Curt Knotick, a financial adviser and owner of Accurate Solutions Group in Butler, about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. “You can’t take it with you, and we encourage our clients that, if inheritance is no longer an important consideration, to really determine what your money is for in retirement.”
Wells Fargo & Co., based in San Francisco, recently surveyed 1,983 affluent investors ages 30 to 75 who have at least $250,000 in investable assets. The survey found that, despite their comfort and confidence, there are a few things they wish they’d done better or differently when it comes to money.
A good portion — 15 percent — regretted “not having enjoyed their money more.”
Pittsburgh resident Fred Rock supports leaving an inheritance for family members, but he also believes the true spirit of an inheritance also includes memories created while everyone is alive and healthy enough to enjoy them.
Rock, managing director of Focus Investment Banking in downtown Pittsburgh, recently took 10 members of his family, which included three generations, on a 10-day vacation to Israel.
“Today, families are all over the place,” he said. “Bringing family together and keeping family together is something that’s a big priority with me. I’m willing and enjoy spending dollars to bring my kids to Pittsburgh for holidays so that the cousins get to know each other and I see them interact.
“Once you know you have enough or more than enough money, I think you are probably missing a great opportunity to do things during your lifetime,” he said.
Pittsburgh lawyer LeRoy Metz II, president of the Metz Lewis law firm, does a fair amount of estate planning and knows lots of people intend to leave money to their children.
“I’ve told many of my clients — the ones who can afford it — that if you make that gift to your child during your lifetime, you get the same opportunity to enrich the child, but you get to enjoy the enrichment as well. So there’s a great reason to accelerate some of those gifts.”
Metz said he and his wife have followed that philosophy by helping their five sons start businesses, buy homes and pay for college. Metz said he also traveled the world with his sons during their formative years.
“We’ve done a fair amount of traveling, which we have always regarded as part of their education and part of ours,” he said.
Knotick often sees other advisers discouraging clients from spending money. “Unfortunately, I believe it’s simply because of the fact that the adviser has those assets under management and is making a residual fee every year to manage his assets.
“You have two stages of life,” he said. “You should be accumulating for the stage that doesn’t include work. Then you have the second stage of life, which is your distribution phase. That’s when our clients really need to determine what retirement looks like . whether it’s mission work or volunteer work or spending time with family or a second vacation home.”