Eytan Morgenstern is facing a very expensive dilemma.
The 36-year-old public relations professional has an opportunity to check something off his life ‘bucket list’: Seeing his favorite band, Metallica, play live.
One problem: They are not coming to his city of Jerusalem, so he is considering going to Paris to see them on May 17. He figures the cost of his dream will be about $1,700.
“It’s a pretty expensive price tag,” sighs Morgenstern. “But they are my favorite band by far, and inspired me to pick up the guitar myself. Hopefully, I will be able to save up enough money before then.”
Morgenstern is not alone in wrestling with the high cost of his bucket list. Just look at your social media timelines right now, and there is a whole lot of financial agonizing going on.
Whether Beyonce tickets, Super Bowl weekends or dream vacations after years of COVID restrictions, our bucket lists carry big price tags that seem to be rising every year.
Which begs the question: How much is too much?
“Most people expect to be told, ‘No Beyonce tickets, no dream vacation, just save it all until you’re 95,’ ” says Ramit Sethi, bestselling author and host of the podcast ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’. “But I don’t believe that. I want you to spend extravagantly on the things you love – and then cut costs mercilessly on everything else.”
One survey even put a dollar amount on bucket-list items: $3,081. That is the average maximum we are willing to part with in order to fulfill a longtime dream, according to a survey by senior communities operator Provision Living. And 57 per cent of people say finances are the reason we have not been able to check those items off.
So how can we fund our bucket lists, without being totally irresponsible? A few tips:
SET UP A SPECIAL FUND
The danger of a huge bucket list cost is that it can spoil other areas of your financial life – like eating into emergency funds, preventing retirement saving and loading up credit card balances.
One solution for this is to save for your bucket list item in a separate account. If you set a goal and the sum is walled off, then you can keep financial priorities intact.
“I love the idea of creating a dedicated savings account for big goals,” Sethi says. “If you want to be front row for your favorite concert, then put money into a dedicated account every single month, and you know for a fact that it’s going to happen.”
TWEAK THE LIST
Yes, travel does occupy the top slot of most bucket lists. But there may be other items on the list that do not cost an arm and a leg.
When Stanford Medicine queried people for its “Bucket List Research Project,” other top responses included accomplishing a personal goal (78.3 per cent of people), spending quality time with friends and family (16.7 per cent) and achieving financial stability (16.1 per cent).
So consider less-expensive options, at least until you can afford something bigger.
“There is one item I see on bucket lists that is actually getting less expensive – education,” says Brandon Welch, an investment advisor in La Mesa, California. “Many retired clients finally feel they have the time to invest in learning a new skill, taking up an instrument, or exploring a new hobby.”
Financial planner Marguerita Cheng from Potomac, Maryland is helping clients pay for their bucket lists by thinking outside the box.
“The goal of one of my clients was to play on as many courses on the PGA tour as possible. He and his wife made this happen by volunteering for the PGA,” Cheng says.
Another client really wanted to see the world and explore the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America and Africa.
“Since he is a retired pharmacist, he volunteered on medical missions,” Cheng adds.
Strictly speaking, it may not be the wisest financial move to make a big, splashy purchase. But since we are here on this planet once, and not for a long time, sometimes you just have to make it work.
“Life can be tough, so I think it’s really important to experience amazing things that will stay with you,” says Morgenstern, who hopes to hear Metallica playing his favorite tunes like ‘No Leaf Clover’ and ‘Bleeding Me’ in Paris. “The pandemic taught us to not push things off, since we never know what tomorrow brings.”