Law Office of Paul Black - July 2019


July 2019

Ice Cream and Your Retirement THE SWEET LIFE

W hen I think of summer, I think of ice cream. In fact, a few days before writing this I decided to treat myself to a bowl of mint chocolate chip — I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it was my mom’s favorite. After a long, 12-hour day, it was the perfect end to a hot Atlanta evening. As I was enjoying the treat, I realized I hadn’t had a bowl of ice cream in over a year. Between the colder weather and my hectic life, I’d forgotten to make time for treats like this. In one way or another, I’ve seen many of my clients making the same mistake.

herself to a nice bowl of ice cream every once in a while. Part of retirement is getting to enjoy the small things.

their limited salaries and selfless attitudes, having been drawn to the profession by a desire to help in the first place. This selflessness, combined with decades of making every dollar count, produces some truly frugal retirees.

I admit it’s a difficult balancing act — life can’t be all about ice cream. When I was 8 years old, I’d probably disagree; I loved a good sundae. But as we mature, most of us learn we can’t spend all of our time and money treating ourselves. We need to save the ice cream, vacations, and new cars

I usually have to urge people to save, but I find myself reminding these teachers it’s okay for them to spend a little money on themselves once in a while.

I recently visited a retiree who has been frugal her whole life. She worked incredibly hard and

There is a fine line between discipline and self-denial. I’ve certainly struggled with this and admit it can be hard to recognize when you’ve crossed that threshold. But ask yourself this: When was the last time you enjoyed a bowl of ice cream or your favorite treat? If it’s been a while, take 15 minutes out of your day and indulge yourself. You have my permission.

until we’ve really earned them. If this job has shown me anything, it’s that people who reward themselves in big ways throughout life often don’t have much to show for it when they retire. But discipline can also be overdone.

did her best to save up for the future, all good things. However, the one problem with this attitude is that she now

“Part of retirement is getting to enjoy the small things.”

has a hard time rewarding herself. Having just had my ice cream experience, I asked her what her favorite flavor was.

I have the privilege of working with many retiring or retired school teachers. They are some of the most disciplined spenders out there because of

Here’s to the sweet things in life,

“Dark chocolate,” she answered, but she hadn’t treated herself to it in years. So, I gave her a homework assignment to treat

-Paul Black

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at with Asked and Answered in the subject line. Your identity will be kept confidential. The opinions offered in this column are not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. | 1

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