We have all clicked on one of those irresistible article links with a title like, Seven Retirement Mistakes to Avoid or Missing This Deadline Will Zap You to a Painful Parallel Dimension From Which You Will Never Return. The second one may be slightly exaggerated, but not much. Why do we click? We’re fearful humans who prefer to survive comfortably and avoid pain. The articles may provide helpful tips, but they usually miss what I see as a major flaw in plans. Many of our clients can spend and/or give more, and those clients are likely missing out on experiencing more joy and impact.

“You can spend and give more,” may sound Pollyannaish or heretical, and it wouldn’t necessarily be good advice for a general audience; but I’ll let you in on a little secret: as CCM advisors, we have far more conversations encouraging clients to spend and give more compared to times when we need to encourage restraint.

You’ve heard us describe the Wealth Equation. To review and oversimplify, your wealth can either be spent, given, and/or paid as taxes. For clients with well-funded plans, choosing to spend or give more during their lifetime results in relatively less wealth available at death to spread among beneficiaries and charities. If people have confidence that they will not run out of money, they generally do not perceive this trade-off as a poor outcome.

As guides who walk alongside our clients on the journey, we advisors are highly skilled at “wet blanket” activities like managing risks, describing trade-offs, and identifying limits. We can ask thoughtful questions, but we can’t dream for you. Our partnership works most beautifully when clients supply the meaningful whats, wheres, and whens, and advisors generate the optimal hows.

Prior to your next CCM meeting, I invite you to do some bigger thinking. Send your advisory team a few ideas for additional spending and/or giving. The discussion in that next meeting will be extra engaging. I truly cannot think of a client who has regretted giving a larger or earlier gift, taking an additional trip, or flying first class. Your advisor will let you know when your ideas exceed your resources, but you may be surprised how rarely we need to apply those brakes.

Life is a precious gift meant to be honored and enjoyed, and our team loves to help clients maximize their available time, health, and wealth. A recent Broadway show tune featured the lyric, “One thing’s universal—life’s no dress rehearsal.” As always, we look forward to helping you make the most of this life.

NOTE: The information provided in this article is intended for clients of Carlson Capital Management. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional adviser familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investment, accounting, tax, and legal matters before taking any action.