5 things money can’t buy that are important in retirement

Married couple is sitting and hugging outdoors. They are warming up by blanket and hot tea.

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Most of the important things money can’t buy are obvious, but worth reflecting on. They’re a reminder of life priorities—and retirement priorities.

The first is obvious because it’s something we talk about—and sing about.

1. Money can’t buy love

The Beatles sang the thought ‘money can’t buy me love’ in their song Can’t Buy Me Love. They’re right! Love isn’t a financial transaction, it’s something that grows in a relationship.

Money can make it easier to fall in love with someone who has it because of how it impacts on you, what it allows you to do, and your relationship with them. Psychology Today puts it this way: ‘Money cannot buy love and love cannot buy money, but money increases the chances of love and love decreases the need for money.’

Money can help make a more comfortable life, but it can’t buy love.

2. Money can’t buy time

We talk about ‘spending’ time as if it were like money, but you can’t buy time. Money can purchase time-saving devices, but it can’t buy time. Actually, some ‘time-saving’ devices (mobile phones that allow us to contact people while on the run, for instance) can take more of our time when we let them.

We all have allocated 1,440 minutes (86,400 seconds) a day. No more. No less. The choice we have is how we ‘spend’ them. That’s in our hands. The only thing we may be able to do is extend the time we have left, but that will be impacted more on how we live than the money we have.

3. Money can’t buy happiness

Money can buy comfort, but not happiness. Psychology Today says: ‘It certainly can be helpful in creating the circumstances that induce . . . happiness.’ However, ‘social factors, such as marriage, family, friends, and children, are more significant in determining long-term happiness than economic elements such as job, income, and standard of living.’

4. Money can’t buy wisdom

Money can buy other people’s wisdom and expertise, but these have little value unless you have the wisdom to work out whose expertise is best for you. One of the annoying things about modern life is that there are experts of various shades and skills who have their wisdom.

Our wisdom mainly comes from our own experience and a desire to learn—including learning from others who are wise. Unfortunately, it’s only as we develop our own wisdom that we will know what wisdom works for us. And so often the best learning technique is failure.

5. Money can’t buy peace of mind

Money can buy a sense of financial security for now and the future, but it can’t guarantee peace of mind. Peace of mind is a sense of calmness—being at peace with yourself and your situation.

That said, your situation may be stressful, stormy—but you can be at peace. This is a mental attitude that allows you to remain or focus on the calm within. This isn’t easy to do. But it isn’t something you can buy.

What would you add to the list? You can probably create a lengthy list. If it interests you, you’ll find 50 things money can’t buy listed here.

So what?

This is a reminder that, while much information about preparing for retirement is focused on finances, there’s quite a number of things you’d want to be part of your retirement that have nothing to do with money.

Some of them are far more important than money. These are well worth working on as you prepare for your retirement.

Bruce Manners, author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire.

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Category: Attitude, Finances

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