Pursuing your retirement dreams is challenging enough without making some common, and very avoidable, mistakes. Here are eight big mistakes to steer clear of, if possible.
Yes, the biggest mistake is having no strategy at all. Without a strategy, you may have no goals, leaving you no way of knowing how you’ll get there – and if you’ve even arrived. Creating a strategy may increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement.
Chasing “hot” investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then, make adjustments based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs. (The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation and diversification are approaches to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee against investment loss. Past performance does not guarantee future results.)
Workers have tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. Not participating in your workplace retirement plan may be a mistake, especially when you’re passing up free money in the form of employer-matching contributions. (Distributions from most employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.)
Your kids’ college education is important, but you may not want to sacrifice your retirement for it. Remember, you can get loans and grants for college, but you can’t for your retirement.
Extended care may be an expense that can undermine your financial strategy for retirement if you don’t prepare for it.
The last thing your retirement portfolio can afford is a sharp fall in stock prices and a sustained bear market at the moment you’re ready to stop working. Consider adjusting your asset allocation in advance of tapping your savings so you’re not selling stocks when prices are depressed. (The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation is an approach to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation does not guarantee against investment loss. Past performance does not guarantee future results.)
If too much debt is bad when you’re making money, it can be especially harmful when you’re living in retirement. Consider managing or reducing your debt level before you retire.
Above all, a rewarding retirement requires good health. So, maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, stay socially involved, and remain intellectually active
The I.R.S. just increased the annual contribution limits on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other widely used retirement plan accounts for 2020. Here’s a quick look at the changes.
Across the country, people are saving for that “someday” called retirement. Someday, their careers will end. Someday, they may live off their savings or investments, plus Social Security. They know this, but many of them do not know when, or how, it will happen. What is missing is a strategy – and a good strategy … Continue reading “Creating a Retirement Strategy”
Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers. Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit … Continue reading “Establishing Good Credit in College”
Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”
What is a relationship with a financial advisor worth to an investor? A 2019 study by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest money managers, attempts to answer that question. Vanguard’s whitepaper concludes that when an investor works with an advisor and receives professional investment advice, they may see a net portfolio return about 3% higher … Continue reading “Measuring the Value of a Financial Advisor”
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