Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to Avoid These 7 Crucial Retirement-Planning Mistakes

Carla Carpenter Retirement Party
Carla Carpenter Retirement Party (Photo credit: grantlairdjr)
When you are trying to plan financially for your retirement, it can be a very confusing time. This confusion causes so many people make critical mistakes when trying to work out their retirement plans. Below are seven of the most common mistakes that people make when planning for retirement and how to avoid them.

1. Signing Up
Believe it or not, so many people forget to sign up for their 401(k) and retirement benefits entitlement. That is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make. Even a 401(k) that is a bad one is much better than no entitlement at all. Most employers even offer to do a match on the amount of money you put in monthly, so by not signing up or refusing, you’re basically throwing retirement money down the drain.

2. Not Investing Enough
There is always an element of risk involved if you want to receive rewards. If you only invest a small amount into a retirement fund, you can miss out on big benefits. Take more of a risk so you can have more of a payout on your retirement fund.

3. Risking Too Much
If you have a 401(k) for retirement, some of it is probably stock invested. You have to be really careful with that as the stock market has been quite unpredictable. Don’t risk retirement funds on stocks that are iffy. Go with companies that are bigger and more established.

4. Borrowing On 401(k)
Don’t borrow money against your 401(k). These monies need to be used for their intended purpose. You need to look at your money here as an untouchable source until you officially retire.

5. Inflation
Think about inflation when you think of retiring. For example, if you retire on $5,000 a month, flash forward 15 years and you will see that you will have seen at least 3 percent inflation and will need far more than $5,000 a month to live. Don’t only invest your money on a fixed interest. Build your retirement portfolio with inflation in mind.

6. Life Spending Needs
Far too many people underestimate what their lifetime spending will really be. Back in the day, it was said that 60 to 75 percent of the money they saved pre-retirement for when they retire. This is not true. If that were the case you’d be stuck eating beans for lunch and dinner. Really think about what your life spending needs will be when you plan for retirement.

7. Years In Retirement
So many people underestimate the number of years they will be in retirement. It’s not like it was years ago when you retired at the age of 65 and were buried at 68. People today are living much longer into their 80s and 90s even. All these years are ones we have to have money to live on. Make sure your retirement plan has enough in it that will take you through all the years you live.

Your retirement should be years filled with fulfilling days and nights. It should be a rewarding journey without having to worry about finances or falling short of money to take you through the rest of your golden years.

Michelle Maltas writes about investment, finance & group health insurance.

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