recent retirees, adjusting to life on a fixed income can
be particularly difficult at holiday time.
you obligated to continue inviting a lot of work friends
to your holiday party? Is everyone in your family
expecting the same level of gifts you’ve always given?
Can it be someone else’s turn to host the holiday
on a layer of possible remorse after getting that last
paycheck and it all makes for a potentially depressing
secret, experts say, is to find a balance between
keeping some comforting traditions and letting go of
ones that obviously no longer fit.
first holiday after retirement can be a golden
opportunity to set new expectations, but talk the walk
first, financial therapist Marilyn Wechter recommends.
can be a fabulous opportunity" to lay the
groundwork for new holiday traditions, said Wechter, a
licensed social worker and wealth counselor who is a
member of the Financial Therapy Association, a
time is the new currency, retirees can offer dinners out
or even home-cooked meals instead of expensive toys for
their grown children, Wechter said. They can write
letters to grandchildren telling family stories or
suggest gift exchanges or spending limits that focus the
giver on creativity rather than shock and awe, she said.
as for old work friends, do stay in touch and perhaps
get together for a few lunches or dinners to keep social
connections strong, but there’s no need for a catered
don’t force sudden change all at once, Wechter
(and only if) you can afford it, keeping holiday budgets
pretty much the same in the first year of retirement,
when you’ve been hit with so many other dramatic
changes, can be comforting for you and the rest of the
must change, though, is the conversation.
the family gathered together, start talking about your
new life in retirement in general, not just during the
holidays, Wechter said.
a chance to say, ‘We’ve retired now, there are a lot
of changes in our lives, and we want to talk about
that,"‘ she said. "It’s a great time to
talk about estate planning" and letting your kids
know you’ve got a handle on your retirement plan so
they don’t worry about what expenses they may have to
cover for you some day, she said.
that context, talking sensibly about new holiday
spending patterns makes sense to everyone.
of course, prudent savers wouldn’t have set lavish
holiday spending patterns during their working years,
notes Jeff Yeager, author of "How to Retire the
notion that we have to spend less in retirement is only
true if we were overspending before," he said.
not realistic for everyone, Yeager acknowledges, but
either way he echoes the need for family conversations,
particularly for extended families that may not have the
you say something like, ‘Can we have a mutual
understanding about what’s expected?’ usually brings
a sigh of relief from everyone," he said.
with, or even coordinating with, the other set of
grandparents on presents for the little ones, for
example, will avoid redundant gifts and, if done right,
can lessen the gift-giving arms race, Yeager said.
if retirement is still a few years away and you tend to
overspend at holiday time, Yeager recommends starting
these efforts now.
no time like the present to start scaling back, rather
than making that first year in retirement a day of