At a crossroads: which is better: to retire with zero debt or a million bucks?

Which is Better: Savings or No Debt?

I recently met with a new client who was preparing for retirement. During our meeting, they asked, “Which is better: to retire with a million dollars in the bank or to have no debt?

That’s a fair question, but also a complicated one.

Many of you might be able to relate to this situation: your kids come to you with a question.  They are not really seeking you to answer with your wisdom.  Rather, the way they ask tips you off that they actually are seeking your affirmation or approval for their decision or behavior (even if they know better).

I decided to probe a little more deeply.  I wanted to gain a better insight as to what this family was thinking.

It became apparent that they did not seek my professional opinion.  Instead, they were seeking my approval –  to sympathize with the decisions they had already made long ago.

Even all of my best advice would never change their mind. They had already made their plans and wanted to go places. They worked hard and saved a long time for this moment.


So, what’s the answer?

The answer is different for every family.

You know the saying, in real estate it’s all about location.  In retirement, it’s all about budget.

Here are just a few of the many factors to consider:

  • When should you take Social Security?
  • How much savings could you afford to spend down?
  • What if you need assisted living?
  • What will your taxes look like?

After we talked and wrote out real numbers, we decided a hybrid approach would work best. My client needed a plan to generate income while chipping away at their debt.

One of the greatest investments a family can make is designing a measurable and achievable Financial Plan.


Retirement will change your life.

The truth is that retirement is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Having a plan for this stage of your life is the key to finding success.

I want to see as many people as possible avoid harmful mistakes and make the best possible decisions for their family.

I can’t say it enough. Find a true fiduciary financial planner to work with. You will most likely need a hybrid approach that is tailored to your family’s needs and goals.

My new client’s answer was complicated. For them, a little bit of both options ended up being best.

So, what’s your answer?


Let’s find out!

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