Retirement can be an exciting new step for many people. The anticipation of retirement can build for years prior to the moment one can say, “I’m retired”. In all the excitement it can be easy to allow those dreams and visions of retirement to get larger than our pockets. Sometimes mistakes early in retirement can take years to correct, so I’ve listed a few things to avoid that might help.
One mistake I’ve seen is retirees make is locking up your retirement funds in insurance products that can limit your options later in retirement. Guarantees can sound nice but fixed dollar payouts over the next several decades and long surrender penalties can minimize your options down the road. Your income needs today might not be the same in the next 10-20 years, especially if you’re not adjusting for inflation.
Retirement is a new step and it’s best to carefully consider you’re options and the long term ramifications of each decision. Take your time and let retirement grow on you before getting stuck in something for 7 or more years.
Another mistake that happens is buying too much house. I get it. It’s a new stage of life and sometimes a new environment helps define that new stage. I have a picture of what my house in retirement might look like or where it might be located, but picking up a big chunk of debt or an added expense might mean giving up something else in retirement. This can be a difficult decision for those early in retirement because they have just recently switched modes from earning to spending. Also, carefully consider your options before cashing in a retirement account to pay off a house. There are very limited ways to create income from equity in a house. While we all want to be debt free, we also don’t want to lose our source of income. There’s no time limit to make these decisions so you may want to let retirement set in for a time before making a decision to buy a new home or payoff a mortgage.
Last but not least, stop paying your adult kid’s bills. I know we all love our children and want them to do well. We want them to have everything they need but if you’re still paying for your 35 year old’s rent, stop it. This doesn’t mean you can’t bring them on a nice vacation with you or spoil the grandkids but you shouldn’t be depended on as an income stream. The best thing you can do for them is help them become independent. I know good and well somebody will call me and tell be their son or daughter just can’t get along without them. I assure you they can, they just don’t want to.
The biggest consideration for retirement is to make decisions carefully. Don’t rush into anything and carefully consider all your options. If you’re looking for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to provide guidance, look for someone independent, experienced and someone that values flexibility in retirement.
Written by Alex Vassey, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Vassey Financial Planning & Investments. With systematic planning and proven strategies, Alex Vassey helps families prepare for all stages of life from college savings accounts, to funding a busy and vital retirement, to handling long term care insurance needs. You can reach Alex via email at Alex@vasseyfpi.com or at his office, located at 140 Bountyland Road, Seneca, SC 29672.