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Dave Says: Spending Makes Her Feel Guilty

Dear Dave,

My husband and I almost feel guilty about spending any of the money we’ve worked so hard to save. Is it common for older people who have saved their entire lives, have no debt, good pensions, and Social Security income, to become obsessed about not spending their money?

Connie

Dear Connie,

It’s very common, especially among folks who have developed a pattern of living frugally for 40 or 50 years. I call it the embarrassment of riches. I’ve heard some people in your situation say that they’re even too embarrassed to order dessert in a restaurant. They feel like it’s a betrayal of who they are as a person.

You guys have worked hard, saved big, and now it’s time to begin enjoying some of that money. You don’t have to do things that are outlandish or wasteful, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with your money when you can afford to do so. Here’s an idea that might help you loosen up a bit. Every time you spend money on a luxury, or something fun for yourselves, give a percentage of the amount you spent to help someone else. You don’t have to match it dollar-for-dollar, because you don’t want to blow through your nest egg and have nothing left.

Give it a try. It will bring balance to your life. You’ll be able to have some fun with your money, plus you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped other people!

—Dave

* For more financial help please visit daveramsey.com.
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