How This Baby Boomer is Living Her

Fullest Financial Life

Subject: Marybeth Weider

Age: 58

Occupation: Self-employed psychotherapist

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Income Bracket: $200,000 - $250,000

Family status: Married

Marybeth Weider is determined to live her life to the fullest.

As a psychotherapist who specializes in supporting people during and after traumatic events, she is reminded of how fleeting life is on a daily basis. “My job is a daily reminder that I won’t be around forever,” she says, and while she isn’t above nights of watching television and tucking into bed early, she and her wife make adventures a priority.

“We have a joint account, and most what we put in it goes to trips.” Most recently, the couple went on a safari trip in Kenya and Tanzania, something that had been a dream of theirs for years. Next up: Japan and an extended stay in Italy. “I really believe in enjoying life,” Marybeth declares.

She and her wife, Elke, recently bought a van, which had been on their bucket list for years. They plan to explore as much of the continental U.S. as they can in the upcoming years.

At 58, Marybeth feels at ease making her own financial decisions. “I am, on occasion, tempted to sit down with a financial advisor. But I resist doing so because I don’t want to hear, ‘You should be putting more money away,’” she explains. “I’m comfortable as I am.”

Part of this comfort comes from knowing she has a home to retire to (she and her wife bought it 14 years ago) and a lifetime of steady savings in her 401K. It’s that financial safety net, she says, that allows her not to have to scrutinize her spending on a daily basis.

When Marybeth isn’t off on an exotic adventure, the bulk of her spending (40 percent) goes to mortgage payments on her San Francisco home, 30 percent goes to groceries, and another 10 percent is spent on household expenses like utilities and car payments.

As for the remaining 20 percent of her monthly income, she divides it into three big buckets: her dog, her art, and her friends.

As any pet parent knows, treats, toys, and care for a canine companion add up. And Soovee, who Marybeth adopted from a Thai sanctuary despite her wife’s protests (she is quick to add that “she loves her now”) is no different.

Paints and canvases, on the other hand, are Marybeth’s gift to herself; her means of unplugging from the world. Last but certainly not least, she spends without hesitation on regular dinners with friends, wine tastings in the nearby Napa Valley, and occasional trips to seaside California towns in the sleeper van.

Deriving pleasure from her spending doesn’t mean she’s a reckless spender, however. On the contrary, she explains, this philosophy of money as a means to an end (rather than an end in itself), means she considers her purchases very carefully. “I try and pause before I buy anything,” she says.

One major weakness for Marybeth, however, is cars; she buys a new one every two years. “I buy a car for how it moves me emotionally, how I like the feel, the look,” she explains. That’s a budget item where she and her wife diverge drastically: “Elke’s had the same darn car through our entire marriage,” she quips.

While they may differ in their relative passion for automobiles, the couple, who has been together for 15 years, shares one philosophy on money: “We spend on the things that bring us joy.”