Saved by the BLANCHE!!! Make your retirement SEXY!
By pooling their resources as housemates, Golden Girls' hottie-of-a-certain age Blanche Devereaux and her homegirls Dorothy, Rose and Sophia keep on living the good life through retirement.
Television's Golden Girls continue to give us a great run for the money and have been at it for three decades this year. Aside from loving them now as much as I did as I was a kid, they also provide an excellent context in which to write about financial issues and retirement planning.
The first Golden Girls Retirement Plan post featured all four housemates. This led to the second Golden Girls post LINK examining the financial fallout that occurs when the widowed Rose (Betty White) loses her pension plan. So now we turn to sizzling sexpot Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) who is able to stay in her comfortable Miami home and keep her retirement account healthy by taking in her three friends as paying housemates. We know that Blanche was having sex with the city well before Samantha Jones was a twinkle in her own dad's eye, but it turns out that our merry widow is a pretty savvy financial player too. Here's what Blanche can teach us:
1) When life hands you cheese, eat cheesecake. Quite literally, many of the best moments of the show happen in Blanche's kitchen over cheesecake as she trades quips with her friends.
While her situation may not have been the globe-trotting fantasy retirement Blanche had planned with her late husband George, she's nonetheless picked up the pieces and has made the most of life which has, in fact, turned out pretty great. Blanche knows that you don't control the world and sometimes have to roll with the punches, which can be made a good deal easier if you have a financial contingency plan in place or some solid assets behind you.
2) Taking action is the ticket to maintaining a good life through retirement. The Golden Girls would be pretty boring if it was just Blanche sitting around waiting for her kids to visit or her next date to call. Rather, when times got tough, Blanche pulled her head out of the sand and turned her home into an income machine. The combined rents from Rose, Dorothy and Sophia surely transformed Blanche's retirement from the insecurity of scraping by to a pretty comfortable set up.
3) There's no need to right-size your home situation or move out. Their shared living situation has numerous financial upsides for all the Golden Girls, not just Blanche. Like with them, your money will go a lot further when splitting rent and expenses four ways compared to four people living alone in their own homes (and let's not even think about how much the infamous "Shady Pines" facility costs.)
4) Quality of life has a direct relationship with financial resources. If you're now alone in your home and assuming that you can find compatible people (a big if, I know), who couldn't benefit from an extra few thousand dollars each month to help cement their financial security? Likewise, the huge savings could give you more money and freedom to enjoy more recreation, travel more or pursue your hobbies.
5) Thank you for being a friend. Think of the all the times one of these ladies had to head to the hospital for some reason or another but at the same time had the comfort of knowing there was always someone there who had her back. Having friends around to help you when times get tough can be priceless and even potentially spell the difference between life and death. Though we know that living with (the right) friends in and of itself can greatly increase your standard of living, may also increase the number of years you live as well.
As a financial planner I'd prefer my clients choose this type of living situation when it fits them, rather than because they have to. A Golden Girls household might not work for everyone true, but for many retirees it may be an attractive option assuming it's with the right people. In fact, sharing a home with friends in retirement (rather than being shipped off to a retirement home) could turn out to be a giant silver lining.
DAVID RAE, CFP®, AIF® is a Los Angeles-based retirement planning advisor with Trilogy Financial Services, a firm managing over $2 billion of client assets. He has been helping people reach their financial goals for over a decade. Follow him on on Facebook or www.davidraefp.com email@example.com
Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation, member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Trilogy and NPC are separate and unrelated entities.
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