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Dreaming of a Happy Retirement? Here are 5 Moves You Need to Avoid

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Are you looking for ways to wreck your retirement? Of course for any sane person the answer is “no” – and yet many of us persist in certain actions (or inactions) that are almost guaranteed to do just that.

This article published recently on the website Investopedia illustrates the point perfectly. It’s called “5 Retirement-Wrecking Moves,” and it’s quite a list. We suggest you take a look and see if you’re guilty of making any of these moves and sabotaging your retirement future. Just to provide some perspective, we’ll add our own “retirement-wrecking move” at the end of the article, so keep reading and see if you agree with our assessment.

The Investopedia article was written by retirement planner Denise Appleby. She states, “While retirement takes many shapes and forms, for many individuals, it’s a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor. But for many people, bad choices can push the retirement horizon out of reach.” We agree with this assessment – it’s something we at AgingOptions see frequently, and it’s frustrating when people refuse to understand the effects of the bad choices they’ve made. Appleby calls these the “worst choices” that can sabotage your retirement.

The first is one we see all the time: procrastination. It’s human nature to put off doing the things we don’t want to do, especially when the “mature choice” involves delayed gratification. For Appleby, writing in the Investopedia article, the number one area for procrastination is in finances, especially when it comes to setting aside funds to augment Social Security. Her emphasis on starting your saving habit at an early age is valid, and for those who still have 25 or more years to save for retirement the advice is sound: stop procrastinating and develop a prudent savings plan now. But what if you’re already in your 50s, 60s or 70s with savings you consider insufficient? That’s where the advice of well-rounded retirement experts such as our staff at AgingOptions will prove absolutely invaluable. If insufficient savings is a concern of yours, we urge you to contact us so we can assist you with appropriate planning tools.

The second “retirement-wrecker” cited in Investopedia is almost the mirror image of the first: it’s the tendency to thinking it’s “too late to get into the game.” In other words, some who failed to start saving early enough reach their later years and feel like giving up on planning and saving altogether. However, it’s never too late to start! We can show you how even modest efforts later in life, combined with sound planning, can pay solid dividends in retirement.

Third, are you wrecking your retirement through missed opportunities? These can include not taking advantage of various tax incentives for qualifying individuals who make IRA contributions. For many an even greater missed opportunity, often under-utilized, is failing to “max out” your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) program. If you’re not taking maximum advantage of every matching dollar your employer has to offer, you’re squandering an opportunity to build your retirement nest egg.

A fourth retirement-wrecker is the failure to consider your healthcare needs in retirement. One article we read recently cited new data that reported a healthy 65-year-old couple who just retired would spend, on average, some $377,000 in health care costs for the balance of their lives! Failure to look health care costs (and long term care plans) squarely in the face and strategize accordingly is a major oversight for many retirees, who often choose to remain willfully ignorant of the need to plan effectively for medical contingencies.

The final retirement-wrecking oversight in the Investopedia article involves our spending habits. The author says people either spend “Too Much Too Soon” or “Too Much Too Late” – in other words, either they experience the sudden freedom of retirement and spend too quickly on vacations and leisure, or they worry so much about their finances that they hoard every nickel and never enjoy the retirement they’ve earned. Both extremes can wreck your retirement by robbing you of long-term security and depriving you of the sense of joy and freedom that a well-planned retirement can and should bring. The absolute essential when it comes to gauging your retirement spending is planning.

From our perspective here at AgingOptions, all of these “retirement-wreckers” share a common theme: they involve a failure to plan thoroughly and comprehensively for one’s retirement years. Many retirees will set up a financial plan and feel confident they’ve done all they need to do, only to find out too late that their basic “money management” plan is inadequate and will lead them down the road to retirement disaster and disappointment. Money alone is not the answer! Yes, it’s vital to protect your assets in retirement, but what about your housing choices – can you avoid unplanned institutional care? What about your loved ones – can you avoid becoming a burden to those closest to you? With a traditional financial plan the answer is completely uncertain. With an AgingOptions LifePlan, the answer is a confident “yes.”

We invite you to join us for one of our free LifePlanning Seminars where you’ll learn much more about our revolutionary approach to the art and science of planning for retirement. A few hours invested will reap exciting dividends, we assure you! For a complete listing of locations, dates and times, plus online registration, click here, or call us during the week. Remember, there’s no obligation whatsoever.

The number one retirement-wrecker, in our estimation, is failure to plan. Let AgingOptions help you create a LifePlan that will allow you to achieve the secure and fruitful retirement you’ve always hoped for!

(originally reported at

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