For anyone on this planet who is about to retire soon enough, there’s only one big question lingering: how long will retirement savings last? To be honest with you, this is probably the most daunting question in my head right now.
Every month I wonder if the money I save up will last long enough, and then I start overthinking and reading about all these people who had to get a job because their calculations lasted for a couple of years.
Also, what if I suddenly start a new hobby that implies collecting Gucci bags? While it’s highly unlikely to happen, I still need to know what to expect. You’d be surprised to find out that this is one of the biggest fears of retired folks nowadays; at least, that’s what the experts are saying. Over 44% of all people and 41% of all retirees fear they might outlive their money. So why not prepare while you still can and avoid all the pitfalls that might make your retirement less golden? Here are some of the mistakes you should avoid:
Having stock holdings that are a real mess
Two main problems might sink you when it comes to something you’ve been totally comfortable with for your entire life. First things first, when you’re asking yourself, “How long will retirement savings last?” you need to remember that markets are already risky.
Of course, that’s basically in their nature, but even so, things might rapidly change after you retire. In fact, they might prove to be a lot more dangerous. Many folks get out of the market to avoid the risks of losing money, and while that is a completely understandable reaction, it might prove to be really dangerous.
The market has been making and will continue to make a lot of money, and you will need this money if you live 20 or even 30 years into your retirement. There’s something called the 60-40-20 rule, and it goes something like this: If you are currently at your peak earning years, you might want to allocate your investments to include 60% of them in stocks, bonds, and even funds.
But make sure you go for the ones that you truly believe in. Then, try to use the time frame of your 30s and 40s to make those numbers climb. After reaching your 50s, you might notice how your risk tolerance shrinks as you are thinking about your retirement, and you might actually see that day coming.
The advice would be to reduce the risk and cut the allocated investment to 40% of your entire retirement fund. Ultimately, in retirement, the only thing you really don’t want to see happen is overinvestment. As you enter retirement, just keep 20% of your money in the market.
It will reduce your risk and also allow you to continue earning bigger returns than your CDs. You will soon notice how playing investment games with target date-based funds or even verified market performers might yield more results and help you avoid big losses. You might want to get some advice before taking any real risks. It will provide you with the edge you need as you age.
Not being enough “optimistic” about how long you’re going to live
If you’re obsessing over the question of “how long will retirement savings last?” we need to have this uncomfortable conversation. Naturally, living to a ripe old age is nothing but joy; at least, that’s how it is in theory. However, if you make it to 90 or even older (and these days, that’s wildly possible), it might also wind up being quite a painful experience.
You might become ill or infirm, yet you’d still be alive. You won’t have the same power and strength in your 80s, but you could still do some things to prepare. You could plan for a longer life than ever before, and we have some stats from the Transamerica Center for Retirement to prove just that: if you’re a 65-year-old male, you should plan on living until you’re 84. Women are expected to live, on average, until 87 years old.
Not having other sources of income
You’ve probably heard this a gazillion times before, but here it goes again: Social Security isn’t supposed to be the only source of retirement income you have planned! You might need other forms, such as a 401(k) and other IRA plans.
It could also be a part-time job or a side hustle, rental property income, pensions, and many other things. However, you should pay attention to some of those, given that pensions are rare these days and getting a part-time job in retirement isn’t the surest thing you can do. Better to plan ahead than panic, right?
Not preparing for all kinds of unexpected emergencies
Well, have you ever thought about what happens if you get sick? If you didn’t know this, as an adult daycare patient, you might need to pay, on average, $17,000 a year for all the required services. Trust me, that’s way more than your Social Security benefits.
In fact, it gets even scarier than that: if, for whatever reason, you are forced to reside in a residential nursing home, you will have to pay on average over $90,000 a year. That’s a great reason to look for healthcare insurance while you still can. This might represent a very important part of your insurance needs, especially in the 21st century. Now is the best time to start researching.
Making foolish mistakes after you retire
Things like taking your Required Minimum Distribution from your retirement plans at 70 and a half years old must be done. Otherwise, you might risk some huge financial penalties. This happens to plenty of people.
At 70 and a half years old, this is the first case in which you should withdraw funds for your retirement right after Social Security benefits. The next thing you’ll have to withdraw is your Roth retirement account, then the traditional accounts last (that’s because they are taxable in most cases).
Not planning your tax strategies right
Did you forget to consider what you may have to pay in sales, income, real estate, and any other taxes when you turn 62? Let me tell you that it can be simple or complicated, depending on where you choose to live.
Ten so-called friendly tax states cater to the senior population and even those over 50 years old. These states have no income tax or sales tax. Also, they have lower school taxes and no real estate taxes. These states are Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Georgia, South Dakota, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana.
Bankrolling your kids
There’s no need to be extra helpful with your adult kids, especially since you hurt yourself by giving them money that you could really use. It’s totally fine to help them by passing some money at the right time, but you can be caught in that trap quite easily.
You might help them in emergencies or even with generous gifts. You’ve taken such good care of them for so long, and now you must take care of yourself. It’s highly difficult, but if you don’t, you might be knocking at their door seeking a place to live, and that’s not something neither of you really wishes for. If you want to learn more about retirement savings, I deeply recommend you read this book!
If you’re curious to read other tips and advice, here’s what you should read: Retiring in New York: Honest Pros and Cons You Should Know