Do You Have an "Opportunity Fund"?

Sep 13, 2023
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Now that my wife and I are in our 60s, we're increasingly thinking about our retirement years ahead. But we've also been thinking about how to enjoy life more now rather than putting off "fun" until retirement.

Many people's thoughts are running along the same lines. From CNBC:

When it comes to saving and investing, many investors tend to think of two key goals — funding emergencies that could crop up in the short term or retirement that may be years away.

But..experts say that that thinking is changing.... Enter the “opportunity fund,” as some...are calling it.

"Covid...changed the way a lot of us think about the way we want to live, where we want to live, what opportunities might come — career, life, you name it," said Brent Weiss, a certified financial planner...in Baltimore. "Now we're starting to see people say, 'I don't know that I want to put all of my money in this retirement fund for 30 years away from today.”

My retirement is definitely not 30 years away(!), but the critical question raised by the article is the same: "What is the life you want to live?"

About four years ago, my wife and I started building our own "opportunity fund" (although we've never called it that) — a dedicated savings account specifically for funding life-enriching things.

Earlier this year, we used money from that account to take an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. Lately, we've used the fund to assist one of our adult sons with moving expenses. (He didn't ask us to do that. We wanted to do it, and it brought us much joy!) This fall, we plan to use money from our "opportunity fund" to visit friends in Florida for a few days.

The now-vs-later question

One of my favorite financial cartoons shows a client sitting in a financial planner's office. The client says: "Explain to me again why enjoying life when I retire is more important than enjoying life now."

Money is a finite resource, of course, so the needs/wants of today will always compete with the needs/wants of tomorrow. The key is to find a balance.

In our household, we haven't stopped setting money aside for retirement, but we have re-focused a bit. Creating and building an "opportunity fund" has changed our thinking regarding things we can do now rather than waiting for some future time.

Many people, rightly concerned about the future, focus so much on "later" that they don't take advantage of "now." For a long time, my wife and I were primarily geared toward the "later." These days, we're leaning a bit more toward the "now," and we're having a great time!

What about you? Do you struggle with the now-vs-later question? Do you have an "opportunity fund"?

Written by

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife has been a news writer for the Associated Press, a college instructor, and a radio host. He and his wife Joye have three grown sons.

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