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Hit the Road – An important part of your financial plan Thumbnail

Hit the Road – An important part of your financial plan

All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. It’s important to have fun, travel and leisure for balance. This article is about the importance of building travel and leisure activities into your planning and supplies interesting trends in personal and business travel.

Living well in the New Retirement – A study, The Four Pillars of the New Retirement, by Age Wave and Edward Jones. The three-year study tracked shifting attitudes and behaviors, and the latest update in March 2021 summarized shifts through the COVID-19 pandemic. Age Wave is a leading thought leader on population aging. Key findings included:

  • Retirement planning requires more holistic thinking than simply saving enough money
  • All four pillars – health, family, purpose and finances – are essential for well-being
  • A majority of retirees “wished they had done better planning for non-financial aspects”
  • About four out of ten Americans say the pandemic altered their retirement timing
  • A silver lining is that 70% feel the pandemic was a financial wake-up call, to pay more attention to their long-term finances
  • Positive views of retirement grew, including “a new chapter in life” (56%), time for rest and relaxation (28%), continuing what life was (9%) and the beginning of the end (7%)

And travel and leisure intertwine with many, if not all, of those four pillars.

Interesting trends and outlooks - Americans continue to travel and their modes have changed a bit:

  • Air travel has returned with a vengeance – More than 2.2 million passengers went through TSA checkpoints nationwide on Sunday (which Sunday – date maybe?), the highest number since February 28, 2020. Airlines have announced new aircraft purchases and are struggling with labor shortages (demand and supply imbalances like many industries).
  • Not everyone is excited to get on a plane, especially those with families. Priceline reports nearly 9 out of 10 have taken at least 1 road trip since March 2020 and 75% of those, reporting at least four road trips.
  • In a record setting quarter, 151,000 RVs were shipped to dealers. It’s estimated that 11.2 million households now own an RV, an increase of 26% over the past decade.
  • Boating is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities – sales of boats and related gear hit $47 billion in 2020, a 13-year high and a 9% bump from 2019.
  • Travel prices are on the rise. Per the CNBC, US consumer prices rise 5% year over year in May, however not all prices were up equally: +29.7% for used cars and trucks, +24% for airline tickets, +10% for lodging, + 2% for shelter, + 0.4% for food index.

Planning Tips: Funding a travel and leisure budget in retirement

  • Define what you want retirement to look like and get alignment with your significant other. Is it extended travel or several shorter trips, international or domestic, what are you doing and with whom? Search online and travel clubs for ideas including  Travelandleisure.com, Theearthawaits.com, and your alma mater.
  • The budget isn’t necessarily straight-line. Spending patterns resemble a so-called retirement “smile” – start high in the early retirement phases (home projects, travel, vehicle replacement, etc.), settle into a groove, then increase later in life (costs of aging).
  • Build confidence in your investment and spending plans. It’s human nature to sit your wallet when economic conditions are uncertain and markets are down – the “fear/pause” response. But that’s when the lines are short and bargains emerge.   

In summary, planning the family leisure trip has gotten more complicated. We recently returned from a family retreat in Jackson, Wyoming. The twelve of us hadn’t gotten together in a year and a half. We weren’t alone, with 50,000 fellow visitors wanting to “Get out of Dodge.” Call ahead for reservations for everything, and bring your wallet and patience.

Travel and leisure deserve an important spot in your planning. Consider a line item in your budget for annual travel, and if you have a dream vacation in mind in a few years, or several big trips as you retire, plan and budget now.  They’re good for your body and soul, and to warm important relationships. May you have sage advice and secure your future wisely.

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