In your early working years, you knew that you had plenty of time – perhaps decades – to make up for any financial mistakes before retirement. If you were extra lucky, you could even rely on your parents to bail you out of a jam.
But once you enter retirement, all bets are off. You might not want, or be able to, work a part-time job to boost your income, and you probably don’t want to ask your adult children for help. Hopefully, you have adequately prepared for retirement by avoiding these six mistakes.
Neglecting to protect your credit score. Most people work hard to boost their credit ratings during their working years, because a good credit score can mean the difference between qualifying for a car loan or a mortgage. But some older people slack off on monitoring their credit, since they may already have paid for their houses and cars. This is a big mistake. Your credit score impacts things like your auto insurance rates and your ability borrow money in an emergency, so check your report regularly and practice smart credit strategies.
Entering retirement saddled by debt. It’s always best to pay down debts before you retire. You never know what other expenses you might incur, such as health care or personal emergencies, and the last thing you want to do is place even more strain on a fixed budget.
Counting upon the equity in your home to fund retirement. Some retirees imagine that they will sell their paid-off home, downsize into a condo, and use the rest of their profit to fund their retirements. The problem with that scenario is that the real estate market is notoriously unstable, and you might not reap the profit you had imagined.
Forgetting to plan for health care expenses. For many younger people, housing is their largest monthly expense. For retirees, it is often health care that eats up the majority of their budgets. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare does not pay for 100 percent of your health care bills, and it pays for only a small portion of long-term nursing care (according to strict specifications). Make sure to weigh all of your options for supplemental insurance and long-term care insurance, so that you don’t risk outliving your money due to high medical bills.
Forgetting to consider your risk tolerance. Throughout your career, you might have engaged in riskier investment practices. It was a good way to build principle in your retirement fund, and the risk was worth the potential pay-off. But now, as you enter retirement, it’s usually best to switch to a more conservative approach. You need to know that your income is secure and dependable.
Failing to consult with a skilled financial advisor. Think of the homeowner who is determined to repair his own plumbing problem… and ends up with a flooded basement. He should have consulted a professional, right? Financial planning involves many complicated decisions, such as deciding when to claim Social Security benefits and balancing your portfolio. A “do it yourself” attitude is admirable in many areas of life, but it’s a risk that you shouldn’t take with your life savings. Call our office to schedule an appointment, and enjoy the security of knowing you’ve received professional input to plan your financial future.