Staying on top of the family finances is a huge responsibly,
probably one that should not be handled alone without the help of your
significant other, or even a family member or friend that you trust with
financial advice. There would be nothing
worse than plugging along through life and by the time you are ready to retire,
realizing you don’t have enough to pay your necessary expenses, let alone have
the funds to complete the traveling you have had your mind set on for
decades. By avoiding some of the biggest
retirement planning mistakes, you can maximize your nest egg and make sure that
your golden years are best spent stress-free.
Not Having a Plan at
It can be hard enough to get through the monthly finances
that not having a plan for retirement can really put your future in jeopardy. For starts, if you were asked how much you
need by the time you retire, would you be able to say? While sure, you can throw out a ballpark guess,
but are you underestimating or overestimating? It’s probably a pretty safe bet that social security
will not be a primary source of income to live off, so now is as good of time
as any to figure out a plan so you are set up for success not only now, but
what will hopefully add up to a lucrative nest egg for the future.
Putting Off Contributions
While it still may be decades away until retirement is on
the horizon, that doesn’t mean that you can keep putting off contributing to
your retirement account and hope you will have not only enough to live off, but
are financially able to enjoy life experiences. Now saving is one thing, but increasing
year after year to maximize your contributions will ultimately help achieve the
goal of being financially independent.
You may think how you can give up more money while you’re living paycheck
to paycheck, but even if you start small and continue to build as you get used to
it, anything is better than nothing.
Missing Out on Free
A great way to build up your retirement account further is to
check at work and see if your employer will match contributions. Some may to a certain point, like say they
will match up to 6%, so you could be missing out on free money if you are
putting in anything less than 6%. Let’s
say you make $50,000 and are putting in 6% a year, for $3,000. By your employer matching, you would be
getting another $3,000 and now essentially be putting in 12% a year, which is a
huge difference that could add up to tens to hundreds of thousands over time,
depending on your salary.
Not Reviewing the
Much like assuming your credit report is top notch, if you
don’t check it regularly, you could be in for a surprise when you apply for mortgage,
for example, and either get approved for a higher interest or flat out denied
due to a poor credit score. Same goes
with your retirement account. You can’t
assume what you have select is performing at its best, especially with the fluctuation
in the market. You may have too much
stock in one area, or not even the right investments in general. The stock market can be extremely overwhelming
so it’s a good idea to consult a professional, however keep in mind the fees
that can be associated with that.
Borrowing Against Yourself
As you start to see your retirement balance continue to rise
now that is has more of your focus, you may be tempted to tap into this whether
it be to pay off debt, use for a down payment for a home, or want to take a
vacation. While vacations are key in
bringing work-life balance, your retirement fund should only be for
emergencies, as you’d be taking out a loan against yourself. While sure the interest may be lower than a
typical personal loan, but it’s better to build an emergency fund or saving in
advance for a potential trip.
Avoiding a Budget
One way to set yourself up for not only the future, but the present,
is to create a household budget that you can use to help reduce the unnecessary
and impulse purchases and really focus on using your hard-earned income for
good. By allocating amounts for bills,
food, gas, spending, you can hope to free up extra money every month that you
can use to increase contributions to your retirement account.