18 Useless Items Baby Boomers Buy When They Retire

As Baby Boomers enter retirement, their spending habits and priorities shift. While some purchases can enhance their retirement lifestyle, others may not offer the same value or utility. These 18 things should be avoided as retirement purchases, as Boomers may live to regret them.

Overpriced Luxury Vehicles

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Baby Boomers grew up in the “cars as status symbols” era. They could afford hot rods as teenagers and young adults, and now they have luxury cars in their maturity. However, luxury cars depreciate quickly and entail high maintenance, insurance, and operational costs, making them less than wise retirement investments.

Extravagant Decanters and Fine China

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Fine china was once a staple of wedding registries and was passed down from generation to generation. Some Baby Boomers still think these items will be enjoyed by their kids and grandkids, even though there has been a cultural shift to minimalism. $495 decanters and rarely used fine china represent a significant outlay for items that offer little practical use and are often stored away instead of being the heirlooms they hoped for.

Unworn Formal Wear

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We’d all like to think that our retirement years will be spent at black-tie charity galas, but unless you’ve accrued the millions to make living out your golden years as a philanthropist possible, expensive clothing items see little to no use. For the rare need for expensive garments, rental companies work great for a fraction of the price.

A Pool

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Waking up in the morning to a coffee and a swim in crystal blue waters sounds like the ideal retirement life. For the average person, the installation and maintenance costs of a pool can turn it into a financial burden instead of a relaxing way to spend their time. Instead of putting a pool in the backyard, check to see if any of your local gyms or YMCA have a pool for you to do a few laps.

Underutilized Gym Memberships

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Being the hot senior with a six-pack would be fun. But in reality, as mobility decreases, the likelihood of frequent gym visits diminishes. So for those who haven’t been hitting the gym before retirement, start with home exercises and make sure that gym memberships get proper use before shelling out money every month.


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It may not be the best idea to get a timeshare for you and your children in retirement; “the maintenance fees will likely eat up your entire retirement fund before you know it. Also, the timeshare and associated debts will be passed down to other family members upon your passing.” You’d be better off planning family vacations at AirBnBs and rental homes.

Expensive Golf Club Memberships

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Golf club memberships can come with huge upfront price tags and substantial yearly dues. This may seem like the retirement lifestyle, but unless you’re using it for everything it has to offer, the cost doesn’t necessarily make sense.

High-End Kitchen Gadgets

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By the time you’re of retirement age, the way you cook is probably pretty set. High-end kitchen gadgets seem like a great idea until they are taking up valuable space on your kitchen counter and collecting dust. Unless your retirement goal is to become a top chef, stick with your tried and true kitchen helpers.

Collectibles with Diminishing Value

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Investing in collectibles seems like something that would be great to create wealth and pass down to future generations, but sometimes it ends up being a money pit. Items like stamps, coins, or certain antiques may not appreciate as expected, so unless the act of collecting is what brings you joy, don’t expect a huge return on investment.

Large Homes

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Hitting retirement, you may feel as though you can finally afford and enjoy the McMansion. However, the maintenance, taxes, and utilities can become burdensome, especially if the space is underutilized. When it is just you and your significant other, opt for a more reasonably sized home to live out your days instead of a huge home where the kids may visit once a year.

Vacation Homes

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Life should be a big vacation once you’ve retired, but it may not be enough of one to justify having a vacation home. The costs of upkeep, insurance, and property taxes can be high, and the property may not be used as much as you think it would.


Couples buying boat
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The dream of sailing into the sunset often clashes with the reality of high maintenance, storage, and operational costs, leading to regret. Cheaper options for those with the desire to be in the water are boat rentals and, of course, having friends with boats.

Resort Living

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Yahoo Finance suggests following the lead of wealthy retirees. “Instead of opting for extravagant retirement living arrangements, wealthy baby boomers are exploring community-driven models.” Initially, resort living is appealing for its amenities and social opportunities, but the novelty can wear off, leaving retirees missing their previous communities and lifestyles.

Recreational Vehicles (RVs)

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Hitting the open road in an RV to see all the national parks can sound like a fun retirement plan. While they offer the freedom to travel, the costs of fuel, maintenance, and infrequent use can make this purchase regrettable.

Extended Warranties

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Extended warranties seem like the logical decision when making large purchases, but they may be more of a waste of money than a wise investment. “Extended warranties don’t cover everything that can go wrong with a purchase, and they are expensive to boot,” says Motley Fool.

Expensive Hobbies

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Retirement might not be the time to take up hobbies that require a significant initial investment, and ongoing costs may not offer the expected level of engagement or satisfaction. Pasttimes such as sailing, becoming a pilot, and golfing cost a lot to start and maintain, with no guarantee that you will enjoy them as much as the idea of them.

Luxury Travel Packages

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While travel is a common retirement goal, overly expensive packages can deplete retirement savings faster than more modest travel plans. “A four-day vacation within the U.S. costs on average $144 a day, while a 12-night international jaunt costs around $271 per day,” says Yahoo Finance.

Expensive Gifts for Friends and Family

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Buying friends and family gifts always feels like a good thing to do; however, when you are on a fixed income, you may regret excessive spending. You won’t be able to avoid gift-giving altogether, but try to make sure your presents aren’t more extravagant than your retirement budget actually allows.

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