What are Biggest Blunders I Can Make in Retirement?

Greeves & Roethler, PLC

You’ve done your homework, and now you’ve got this retirement stuff all figured out. Savings socked away. Debts paid off. A plan in place to transition from work to leisure. However, some retirement mistakes operate under the radar.

Wealth Insider’s recent article entitled “8 Things You Should Not Do in Retirement” reviews some poor decisions that could sink your retirement and how to avoid them.

  1. Failing to create or update legal documents. Circumstances and laws change, so our legal paperwork needs to change along with them. It could be a birth, a death, a divorce, or a new tax law that necessitates a review.
  2. Not creating a budget. You’re on a fixed income in retirement, so you’ll have to budget for things like medical bills not covered by Medicare; household help if you can no longer do yard work or deep cleaning; food for specialized diets and home modifications, like grab-bars in the bathroom or a wheelchair ramp out front.
  3. Going into debt. According to an Experian study, the average baby boomer owed $97,290 in 2020. That included mortgages and student loans, along with consumer debt. You should plan to go into retirement with no debt. If you have substantial debt, consider credit counseling.
  4. Spending fixed income on adult children. This may jeopardize your own long-term comfort and security.
  5. Withdrawing too much money. If you claimed Social Security before your full retirement age, you’ll have permanently reduced benefits. Conventional wisdom says to take no more than 4% out of your accounts each year. Out-of-control spending may cause you to loot your retirement funds faster than you should.
  6. Becoming sedentary. A lack of exercise can lead to plenty of health issues, says the National Institute on Aging, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Being active improves energy, physical strength, balance and sleep. It can also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve cognitive function and manage or even prevent certain diseases. Added together, these improvements could make it possible to live independently for longer, or maybe for the rest of your life.
  7. Letting yourself become isolated. Extended periods of isolation can result in serious physical and mental health issues, according to the National Institute on Aging, such as depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, obesity, weakened immune function and heart disease. Get out there and do things like volunteering, auditing classes at a college or university, adopting a pet (if you’re physically able), joining an exercise class, or revisiting an old hobby or taking up a new one.
  8. Being too generous. Rather than messing up your own finances, make “charitable giving” part of your budget, perhaps as a specific percentage, like a 10% church tithe. When you’ve reached that amount, stop. Before you decide to give to a cause, check it out through websites like GuideStar or Charity Navigator to see what amount actually goes toward helping others.

Reference: Money Talks News (Oct. 18, 2021) “8 Things You Should Not Do in Retirement”

Suggested Key Terms: Senior Health, Charitable Giving, Retirement Planning

Our Client Success Stories