Travel or Retire?

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As an avid traveler, I can’t say enough about the perks of getting out and seeing more of the world around you. Because of my many traveling experiences, I have great stories to share at dinner parties and a terrific stockpile of photos that bring to mind so many memories. Not only does traveling teach you about other places and cultures, but it also teaches you a lot about yourself.

From my standpoint, there are countless perks to traveling. But I know there’s one thing in particular that keeps many, many people from booking trips and packing their bags for adventure. What is that thing, you ask? Money.

Traveling is expensive. Even when people consider taking a budget trip, they often feel guilty for allocating money for a personal splurge when they have so many other more pressing financial concerns. One of the biggest money concerns is retirement.

Retirement and travel sometimes go hand in hand. We tell ourselves that we’ll wait until we reach our golden years before we explore the sunsets in other countries. But there’s buzz online that suggests rethinking that approach.

For example:

An article in Forbes this week asking, “Should Millennials Delay Retirement Savings In Order To Travel The World?” offers a compelling case in favor of prioritizing travel.

“If you have a choice between a once in a lifetime trip to place XYZ or adding more money to your 401(k), you should choose the former if it’s something you really want. Everything has a cost, and the cost of saving at the expense of travel is the experience you won’t ever have or get back,” said Zachary A. Abrams, a CFP who was quoted in the story.

Back in 2013, a U.S. News & World Report writer echoed a similar sentiment, saying:

Don’t put all of your passions on hold. It can be a mistake to wait until you retire before you finally pursue what inspires and excites you. If you follow those passions in your daily life you can add to the quality of the life you live. Obviously there are some things that you will have to wait to do because of time constraints and other barriers. But don’t save everything for retirement if you can enjoy a bit along the way.

What’s more: That advice was aimed at baby boomers who are much older than millennials and with seemingly more at stake when it comes to putting money aside for retirement.

Laura Shin, a financial reporter who covers personal finance, wrote a great story last year about a couple in their 30s who had recently retired to travel the world. The takeaway for them was that it’s possible to save and travel sooner than later.

If you want to travel more, but you’re afraid of spending money that you think would be better used for retirement, take a look at my slideshow that offers a a few reasons to consider traveling now.

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