While I received a lot of positive comments on last week’s post, “What’s Your Relationship With Money?”, I also received more negative comments than in the last 3 years combined, including some very personal dings at me. Why? It seems some people see ‘blow money’ as money blown. I stand by my belief that blow money is important and here’s why.
Blow money is simply my term for my and Martin’s personal allowances. It could just as easily be called allowance money, retirement enjoyment money, don’t want to be on my deathbed with regrets money, bucket list money, hobby money, exercise money, good health money, leisure money, entertainment money or anything else I decide to call it.
In life, I’m a planner. We also planned money for an occasional new car. We planned money for vacations. Some people may see those items as wasted money. When Martin and I reviewed our retirement resources and budget with the financial planners, it included a line item for personal allowances. If calculating our numbers showed us having enough money to take us into our nineties, blow money, inflation and all, there is no reason to forego a personal allowance.
Martin spends most of his blow money on bicycle and motorcycle gear. As someone bicycling 80 to a 100 miles per week, he’s put nearly 8,786 miles on his current bicycle. Yes, he loves bicycling so much he keeps a log of the miles he does each week, weather and any other conditions, which affect his time.
He is in such great physical shape, with a resting heart rate of 52 beats per minute, that a medical doctor friend once joked, “With a heart like that, you’ll live forever!” We all know that’s not true, but it points out just one of the benefits of bicycling. Money blown on bicycle gear? It’s cheaper than a heart attack, which can easily run into the six figures and kill you! I love my husband and want him to stick around as long as possible. Money well spent.
Much of my blow money is spent on my gardens. I never met a plant I didn’t like _ well, maybe poison ivy. Not only does gardening keep me in good physical condition, the garden is my goto place for stress relief. After a tough day at work, there was nothing like coming home to a beautiful garden to relax or dig in the dirt. When I’m tending my gardens, I feel like I’m doing God’s work, taking care of nature and providing a place for birds, bees and butterflies to flourish. I also spent $300 on the Clemson University Master Gardener Program, so I could learn more about gardening and pass that information on to others in my community as a Program volunteer. Money blown on gardening and volunteering? Money well spent.
I also spend my blow money on an occasional lunch out with friends. While some may see this as a waste of money to eat out, I see it as nurturing my relationships with my support group. As we age social interaction becomes increasingly important at a time when we may have fewer opportunities to socialize.
According to the Rochester University Medical Center, the benefits of strong social ties include:
1. Potentially reduced risk for Alzheimer’s, some cancers, cardiovascular problems and osteoporosis;
2. Lower blood pressure; and
3. Reduced risk of mental health issues such as depression.
Many of the people I socialize with are long time friends, but some are also more recent friends encountered in art and writing classes _ more blow money expenditures. Money blown breaking bread with friends? Money blown taking classes to open new neural pathways and meet new people? Money well spent.
As we age, keeping our bodies strong, our minds sharp and our social network alive are important not only to our longevity but also our quality of life. Martin and I live an amazing retirement life filled with activities we enjoy, good friends, old and new, and a healthy, happy marriage. While we enjoy a lot of activities together such as hiking, cooking and art, we are not joined at the hip. We go our separate ways for many other activities and blow money helps us do that without infringing on joint items in our budget. We have no disagreements over money! Money blown on a harmonious relationship? Money well spent.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a budget line item that includes a personal allowance, even if you are single. As one of my wise readers pointed out, a budget gives us the permission to spend without the fear of spending too much. After all, what’s the point of saving all this money if you don’t get to enjoy your retirement? I personally don’t want to be at death’s door and say, “Gee, I wish I’d taken that art class or gone out to lunch with my friends more often.”
Money blown? Money well spent!