Setting Yourself Up to Fail in Retirement

One or two mistakes in handling your retirement money could mean paying a stiff penalty as you grow older — whether financially, or in the emotional drain that “guessing wrong” can take on you. Watch out for these mistakes we’ve seen people make over the years…

Obsessing about market losses (or gains).

Focus on your long-term needs, not the daily ups and downs of the DJIA. Catastrophic events and long-term health care needs can cause as much damage to your nest egg as a shaky market.

Forgetting about inflation and taxes.
Your retirement savings may be a lot smaller than you think when you start factoring in the rate of inflation and the taxes you’ll have to pay when you start drawing out of it.

Not saving in the last years before retirement.

Just because you’ve got only a handful of years left before you retire doesn’t mean you should go ahead and buy that new Lexus. Some people are able to build up substantial savings in their last five years of work because they get serious about saving and investing.

Believing you can withdraw more than you really can.
If you rely on average annual returns on your investments to determine just how much you can withdraw, you could be drawing down your retirement fund faster than you should. Average returns are seldom steady. A safe rule of thumb: Count on a 3 percent rate of withdrawal.

Not planning for a long life.

Despite the dramatic rise in life expectancy in recent decades, many people still underestimate how long they’ll live. If you’re not thinking about longevity, you could tap out your savings much faster than you should. Look at the figures and add in at least a few extra years as you make your plans.

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