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5 Costly Retirement Regrets We Should Avoid

5 Costly Retirement Regrets We Should Avoid

There is much to consider when preparing for retirement. New retirees are always more than eager to share stories, successes and mistakes they have made along the way. If you listen closely, chances are many of them will tell you something they wish they could do over or do different.  Here are 5 costly retirement regrets we should all avoid.

1. Spending too much in your peak years.

When you were young, you wanted the finer things in life; Cars, houses, cloths, boats etc. As you get older, spending too much in your peaks years becomes a retirement mistake.

This is because you lose the power of compound interest. The longer you keep your money invested, the more of it you will get out. Most people in their twenties and thirties unfortunately do not think this way until it is too late.

The best way to avoid this retirement mistake is to first control your spending. Clean up your vision board, you don’t need all those material things to show how successful you are. As Dr Sues once said “Those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter”

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Next, get financially literate. Take some money classes to understand how to build a budget, get out of debt and invest.

Make sure you are also putting some money back in your youth. It may not seem like much right now, but little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

2. Not taking good care of your health and body

Entering into retirement with bad health can have some very costly consequences.  When we are young, we spend so much time working, so much so that health and fitness is often the last thing on the mind. The mistake here is that too often; people pay the cost of their bad food and exercise choices when they have the least amount to spend – retirement.

This retirement mistake will not only have you running out of money too soon into your retirement, it will also rob you of precious time that could have been spent with family.

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The best way to avoid this retirement mistake is to remember that your health is your only true measure of wealth, so take good care of yourself.

Start by making better food choices and also exercising to keep you looking young and vibrant. At retirement, you will probably be paying your own health insurance out of pocket, so it pays to have a solid foundation in health and wellness.

3. Borrowing from yourself

A major mistake people make heading into retirement is borrowing from their retirement accounts to fund large purchases. This could be a second home, a remodel, or a child’s college education. The big mistake here is not only will you have to pay taxes, penalties and fees to get your money out; you may also have to work longer.

The emotional attachment that leads you to justify making these large purchases will cost you big in the long run

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The best way to avoid this money mistake is to remember why you started saving in the first place. These fees are put in place to remind you of the commitment you have made to secure your final future.

Maybe start a fund for whatever project it is you want to accomplish. Set measurable savings goals over a set period of time to meet this financial goal. You may have to get an extra job, however it will be well worth it.

4. Not downsizing soon enough

Life can often feel like one big roller-coaster ride.  We leave the comfort and acreage of our parents homes to the small nest eggs of a bachelors pad or apartment. As we get older and have our own families, we also follow suit and acquire our own large homes to raise our kids in. However this becomes a retirement mistake if you do not know downsize soon and early enough. Whether it’s moving into a smaller home or selling off a second car, don’t forget that you must already be living below your investment income going into retirement. Most folks waiting to cut back at retirement will be drowned out by the cost of downsizing.

The best way to avoid this retirement money mistake is to make sure that you are not blinded by your pride. Do not be given to the temptation of keeping up the perceptions others have of you. At this age you should be travelling and enjoying the world with your spouse much more than you did when you were younger. Chances are you will not need the huge house. Not to mention, you will be paying lower monthly bills.

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5. Not kicking a bad habit early enough

There is a feeling of invincibility we all feel when we are young. We develop vices too often as a means to socialize or pass the time. From alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes to gambling, most people regrettably count the cost of their vices when it is too late.

While it is OK to indulge yourself in whatever past time you choose, the retirement mistake here is forgetting to count the cost. A regular smoker will very easily spend three thousand dollars a year on cigarettes. This is money that could have been put into a ROTH IRA.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to create an allocation system for yourself or a play fund. This is a reasonable amount of money you have allowed yourself to spend on all vices. Your need to live a comfortable life in retirement must be greater than your need to have too much fun now.

Approaching retirement doesn’t have to be all dark and gloom. Just remember that the choices and decisions you make now will affect the rest of your future.

Featured photo credit: http://theneotericgroup.com/experience/retirement-residences/ via theneotericgroup.com

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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