Who doesn’t want to retire? After decades of working, it’s time for a new season of life. Hopefully, you’ve made good financial decisions up to this point. But, your responsibility to continue that trend doesn’t end when you leave your full time job.
Unfortunately, many retirees make financial mistakes that create significant hardships. Make sure you are aware of typical mistakes so that you can enjoy your retirement fully.
Watch out for these common retirement regrets:
1. Quitting work too soon. One-third of all retirees will live to be over 91 years of age. Avoid the mistake of rushing to retire as soon as possible. One good idea is to continue working until you’re eligible to receive your Full Retirement Age (FRA) social security benefits, which is between ages 66-67 depending on when you were born.
2. Overestimating investment returns. Investment returns, especially equities, will fluctuate from year to year. The Great Recession has created a new economic landscape which requires investors to adjust their expectations. Work with a financial professional to create an investment management plan that is suited to your risk tolerance and goals, and be realistic in your assumptions about future returns.
3. Failing to focus on income. High returns are great, but many retirees are in greater need of reliable income. Understand the different income sources that are available to you in retirement and work to develop a sustainable income stream to replace your full time paycheck.
4. Spending too much. Retirees often underestimate how much retirement will cost. You might not have spent much while you were working. After all, you were at work all day. However, now your days are free, and you probably don’t want to sit around the house all day. Playing golf, going to the movies, and eating lunch in a restaurant aren’t free.
Keep a handle on your spending. You’re free from work, but you might not be as financially free as you like. Be responsible and take advantage of free or inexpensive sources of entertainment.
5. Purchasing services that you don’t need. Be aware of “lifestyle drift” where you inadvertently spend money on things that don’t add any substantial value to your life. Also, watch out for scammers who look for opportunities to prey on retirees and sell goods and services you don’t need. If there’s any doubt, contact a friend, one of your adult children or ask your financial advisor for advice.
6. Ignoring the likelihood of significant medical expenses in the future. You might be in great health today, but we all die eventually. Medicare is helpful if you’re over age 65, but it doesn’t cover everything. In addition, the co-pays and other charges can become expensive.
One study suggests that medical expenses after retirement are approximately $200,000. Have a plan in place to cover these potential future expenses.
7. Keeping the same house. Many retirees choose to stay in the same home they’ve owned for 30+ years. It can be hard to let go of the home that housed your children, but that extra space is expensive.
8. Not investing appropriately. Much comes down to risk management. How much can you afford to lose? How long do you think you’ll live? Remember that you’re likely to live longer than you think. Most investors fail to accurately assess the appropriate level of risk for their situation. Get expert advice based on your unique needs.
Money mistakes are common, regardless of age, but they are easier to absorb at 25 years old than at 65 years old. Be cautious with your money so it will last a lifetime.
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