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A boat

Owning a boat involves substantial ongoing expenses, which include mooring, insurance, maintenance and fuel. Once the novelty wears off, many people don’t use their boats nearly as often as they thought they would. Depending on where you live, use of a boat may also be seasonal. It also can be hard work to sell the craft once it no longer floats your boat, if you will.

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A luxury car

Luxury cars come with high maintenance and repair bills, substantial insurance premiums and high fuel costs if they require premium gasoline. Plus, they depreciate substantially as soon as they’re driven off the lot. A Chevrolet Corvette, for example, will depreciate 27.5% (or close to $23,000) over five years, according to iSeeCars.

A recreational vehicle

Like a car, an RV depreciates — and like a boat, may be hard to sell later. They’re expensive to fill up, insure and maintain, and you’ll pay fees for overnight camping. Plus, such a large vehicle can be stressful to drive, especially through cities and on narrow or winding roads.

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A timeshare

Besides the initial investment, timeshares come with ongoing costs that include maintenance fees, utilities and taxes. And changing course can be difficult, as timeshares are notoriously hard to sell for anywhere near your original purchase price. Many express regret over paying fees for a timeshare long after they no longer can or want to use it.

Resort living

While resort living may seem appealing, it can come with a higher cost of living, difficulty selling and restrictive covenants. Many communities are in places where off-season weather can be an issue (for example, intense heat in Florida). Plus, leaving your established home and social connections can result in a big and not necessarily happy adjustment.

Lavish travel

Because it often results in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, travel is a way to spend money that can yield happiness. But overspending on one or several lavish trips can hurt your ability to fund retirement and future trips. Settling for a little less luxury could leave you in better financial shape — and allow you to travel more.

Impulse buys

Retirement may give you more time around the house but you may also find yourself bored and restless. Some retirees fill the time and emotional vacuum by making impulse purchases from infomercials and online retailers. Especially with single-click purchasing, you can easily rack up excess purchases, mount high-interest debt and draw down cash — often on things you don’t really want or need.

Remember that other retirees have regretted buying these items. The supposed joy that comes from spending will too often wear off as fast as that new car smell. Stick to your budget and don’t rush into any purchases. But if you still want that fancy car, get a thumbs up from your financial adviser, then “go-go” to the dealer and enjoy.


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Douglas Warren Freelance contributor

Douglas Warren is a writer specializing in economics, business and finance. His writing is informed by his past work as an institutional portfolio manager, fixed income salesperson, credit analyst and personal financial consultant. He has a master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University and is a CFA® charterholder.


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