Wondering what retirement mistakes will ruin your retirement? Here are the biggest retirement mistakes we all make.
Have you ever checked in to see if you are on track for retirement? I know this can feel like a daunting task, but preparing yourself for retirement can help you save more and avoid common retirement mistakes.
For some, retirement means quitting their job after 40+ years, but it can also mean working towards early retirement, in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and so on.
I know that’s not for the “average” American, but by avoiding some of the retirement mistakes I will talk about today, you can start preparing for retirement at any age.
Related: How To Save For Retirement
The thing about retirement is that sadly many out there are not saving enough money. In fact, according to Zacks Investment Research, 72% do not save enough for retirement each month.
Also, according to surveys done by Bankrate, 20% of people aren’t saving any money, and 61% of Americans have no idea what they will need to save for retirement.
These numbers are very alarming.
Saving money in general is an important thing to do, but if you don’t want to work for the rest of your life, saving for retirement should be something that you are thinking about. And, I believe that saving for retirement is possible if you start working towards it and avoid retirement mistakes when it comes to planning and saving.
While many believe the economy ruins their chances for retirement, in reality most retirement mistakes come from specific beliefs people have about retirement. Some of these beliefs come from expectations of what their budget will be during retirement, that they can rely on their pension or social security, and more.
There are many reasons for why a person might not be saving for retirement, and by looking at the various retirement mistakes you might be making, I feel that more people can be aware of and overcome their retirement preparation problems.
Here are five retirement mistakes and how they might be hurting your chances for retirement:
1. You ignore saving for retirement altogether.
Many people skip out on saving for retirement for several reasons, including:
- Believing you don’t have enough money to save for retirement.
- Thinking that you’re too young to care about retirement or that it’s too late to start.
- Relying too much on pensions and social security.
No matter how young or how old you are, you should be saving and preparing for retirement. You never know when you will need it, and I am all for a person being in charge of their own retirement plan instead of relying too much on other sources of retirement (such as relying on social security 100%).
Millennials are especially at risk and according to an article by Business Insider, a shocking 40% of millennials have nothing saved for retirement. This is a scary number because these people will all have to retire one day and I’m not sure what they will do when the time comes.
But, it isn’t just young people who aren’t saving for retirement. Bankrate found that only 60% of people aged 45-54 have some type of retirement savings. You can read more crazy retirement statistics here.
It is important to realize that part of the reason for these low savings rates is that many are currently living paycheck to paycheck, which makes it hard to even approach saving for retirement. Fortunately, you can start investing with very little money, and you can learn how to start investing for beginners if you are wanting to start planning for retirement.
There is never a bad time to start saving for retirement, and you can correct this retirement mistake by starting today.
Side note: I highly recommend that you check out Personal Capital if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation. You can connect your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more. And, it’s FREE!
2. You take on debt for others and don’t think about your future.
I talked about this topic in the post Should I Ruin My Retirement By Helping My Child Through College? This is a hard thing for a lot of parents especially as student loans are out of control, and I am hearing from parents nearly every week saying that they cannot afford to retire because they are paying for their child to go to college.
If this is your situation, I want you to STOP making this one of your retirement mistakes. Unless you are on track for retirement, I honestly think you need to seriously start prioritizing your future. Your child will be fine without your monetary support.
There are lots of ways to support your child through school that don’t involve leveraging your future for their education. You can help them find a job, find scholarships, be an emotional support, and more.
You can take out loans for college, but you cannot take out loans for retirement.
3. You think you’ll never have to retire.
Recently, I read an article about someone who made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, had a monthly budget of around $30,000 (yes, MONTHLY!), and yet hardly saved anything. This person said they didn’t really feel the need to save for retirement because they enjoyed their job so much. That’s just crazy!
See, even wealthy people make retirement mistakes.
Assuming you will love your job forever can be a huge mistake. While it’s great that you love your job now, it’s hard to judge what you will love decades down the line.
Also, you never know if something will come up in the future that will completely prevent you from working, such as a medical issue or some sort of major life change. Beyond realizing that you will need to prepare for retirement, an emergency fund should be something you already have or are working on – emergency funds are there to protect you from the what-ifs.
- Everything You Need To Know About Emergency Funds
- Is A Credit Card Emergency Fund A Smart Idea?
4. You miscalculate how much money you’ll spend in retirement.
For some reason, many people just assume they will spend less money in retirement, but that is not always the case.
While you might find some ways to save money on things like commuting expenses, work clothes, lunch if you weren’t bringing it, you will probably experience a very similar budget to the one you had while working.
You are still going to spend money on housing (even if you pay off your home completely, you will still need to pay property taxes, utility bills, etc.), food, clothing, entertainment, and so on.
Many retirees also take up new hobbies or activities. And, some retirees just have more time to pursue things they’ve already been doing, which can add up to a lot of extra expenses.
Plus, medical expenses may come up, you might decide to travel more, and like I said, the truth is that retirement spending is not usually much different than what you are currently spending.
Some make plans to become super frugal after they enter retirement, but life doesn’t always work out so perfectly. To make sure this isn’t one of the retirement mistakes you are making, I recommend starting to cut down your budget now.
By living frugally before you retire, you will be able to save more, will have less expenses going into retirement (the less money you spend, the less you need in the future), and you might even reach retirement sooner. Really, if you cut your spending now and become more frugal, you will be used to living with less. I’ve been living a more frugal and minimalist lifestyle since we moved onto our boat, and it can be a life changing thing.
5. You use your retirement funds for expenses other than retirement.
This is one of the worst money mistakes out there, and unfortunately many young people are making it. I’ve actually heard far too many stories about people taking money out of their retirement funds in order to pay for a vacation, a timeshare, pay off low interest debt, and more.
When preparing for retirement, this is a HUGE mistake.
While I don’t know everything about taking money out of retirement funds, I do know that this can usually hurt you more in the long run. Taking funds out of a retirement account can lead to large penalties and paying extra towards taxes.
The other thing about saving for retirement is that the longer you have funds invested, the more you will have for retirement. Compound interest is a powerful thing, and if you are taking money out of your retirement account it means that you don’t get the full benefit of it.
You should always just use your retirement funds purely for retirement. If you are struggling with debt or need help differentiating between wants and needs, it’s time to make a change. Don’t wreck your future by making this huge retirement mistake.
What retirement mistakes have you seen? Do you think you will have enough money to retire and how are you preparing for retirement? What age do you expect to retire?
The post You CAN Reach Retirement! Avoid These Top 5 Retirement Mistakes appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
Hello from Portugal!
Last Thursday, I returned to Europe for the fourth time in the past ten months. This time, I’m here for work. I’m speaking at yet-another chautauqua about financial independence and early retirement. As always, it’s fascinating — and the people attending the event are amazing.
For this trip, I decided to experiment with ultra-light packing. I am not a minimalist, but I like minimalist travel. I wanted to see if I could carry everything I needed for 20 days of travel in a single small backpack.
After traveling to thirty countries in the past twelve years, I’ve learned that “more is less” when it comes to packing. It’s senseless to carry things you’re not going to use. And most of the time, you don’t need to pack items you’ll find (or can buy) at your destination.
It costs less — physically, mentally, and financially — to travel light.
Here’s a quick look at my current ultra-light packing experiment (and how my packing habits have changed over the past decade).
Packing for Africa
Since my first overseas trip to England and Ireland in 2007, my packing has…evolved. Twelve years ago, I carried far too much. I brought along anything I thought I could possibly want or need. It was crazy. Then, to make matters worse, I bought a ton of stuff as the trip went along.
By the time I flew home, I was overloaded.
Trip by trip, I’ve learned to pack lighter. By February 2011, this is what I packed for three weeks of travel to southern Africa.
Holy cats! years earlier, I was still carrying all sorts of stuff I didn’t need. My mind is boggled. A radio? Binoculars? $500 cash? Tons of books? What was I thinking?
By the Africa trip, though, I was starting to pack for function rather than form. I still carried some items (including my bags) that I thought looked cool, but in the back of my mind, I’d begun to grasp the concept that fun, efficient travel has little to do with what you pack and everything to do with your experience in the moment. And when you’re burdened by baggage, it’s tough to be in the moment.
Packing Light for Ecuador
Fast-forward three years. Here’s what I packed for fifteen days in Ecuador during late summer 2014. Although I still carried items that went unused, my choices were mostly functional by this point and had little to do with form.
The system I show in this video is still my standard system. In fact, for our trip to Italy and Washington D.C. last month, I used these exact bags. And the items I packed inside the bags were similar to what I was carrying five years ago. (The major difference? I rarely use zip-off pants anymore. I’m not nearly as paranoid as I used to be.)
For my current trip to Portugal, I decided I wanted to experiment with ultra-light packing. Could I compress everything for 20 days of travel into a single “personal item” that fits under an airplane seat? Would I regret taking so little?
Ultra-Light Packing for Portugal
Here’s what my ultra-light packing attempt looks like for my current trip to Portugal and California.
My bag for this trip is a Synapse 19 from Tom Bihn. It’s roughly 11-1/2 x 8 x 16 inches tall. As the name implies, it holds 19 liters of stuff. What kind of stuff?
For this trip, I’m carrying:
- My laptop (a 13″ MacBook Pro) with associated cables and adapters.
- My phone (an iPhone X) with associated cables and adapters.
- A small notebook with pens and pencils.
- An envelope containing various travel documents.
- Two ziploc bags with travel-sized toiletries. (One bag contains liquid items for TSA.)
- A packing cube containing one wool t-shirt, one button-down travel shirt, three pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and a pair of shorts. (I’m also wearing similar socks, underwear, a pair of pants, a wool t-shirt, and another button-down shirt.)
- A pair of sweats that I rolled up and secured with a rubber band. This was a last-minute addition, but I’m glad I brought them.
- Three “pouches”: one with electronic stuff, one with sleep stuff, and one with outdoor stuff (like mosquito repellant and sunscreen).
- A few miscellaneous items, such as gum, my European power adapter, my retainer, my Kindle, and my reading glasses.
- A ziploc bag for my cash and change, plus a ziploc bag with my passport and other travel info.
I’ve been on the road for five days day now. It’s been very easy. My biggest complaint is that I don’t have a second pair of footwear. I like to have flip-flops or Birkenstocks with me, and I don’t have those for this trip. (Plus, I had to wash my underwear last night because I’m only traveling with four pairs. Only a minor inconvenience, though.)
My bag is full, but there’s still a little room for me to pick up stuff along the way. That’s good, because I’ve already been given two t-shirts!
Whereas there are often items that go unused in my luggage, this time I’ve used almost everything. I haven’t used my collapsible chopsticks yet (I rarely do, but they don’t take much room) and, surprisingly, I haven’t used my reading glasses. I haven’t used my Kindle yet either, but I suspect I will during the latter half of the trip.
So, that’s my experiment with ultra-light packing. Will I do this again in the future? Yes, I think I will. But only selectively. Ultra-light packing is a terrific option for trips where my environment is relatively constant (I’m mostly in hotels, for instance) and I have no companions.
But on last month’s vacation to Italy, Kim and I had to pack for hot and humid weather, for air-conditioned hotels, for hiking, for business meetings, etcetera. There’s no way I could have fit everything in one small bag. Besides, when I’m traveling with other people, the advantages of packing light are reduced somewhat.
Ultra-light packing is a terrific tool to have at my disposal. It’s easier than you might think. After five days, I’m certain this system will work for the entire twenty-day trip. And I’ll bet nearly anyone could make this work for a weekend.
“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying, and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.” – Sustainable Human
I recently saw this quote and it really made me think.
Pretty much everyone, myself included, is guilty of wanting to rush through life instead of trying to live in the present while also preparing for the future.
When I was younger, I wanted to be older so I could have more money, a bigger house, etc. I wanted to rush through high school, college and so on.
I dreamt of the future and spent much of my time dwelling on that.
It’s easy to focus on what you hope your life will be like, but for me, I am living a better life now because I’m no longer trying to rush towards the next stage thinking that it will be better than the present.
When you are only living in the future, you are stealing your present from yourself. It can be hard, but learning to live in the present means you can see how amazing your life already is.
We all look at the years ahead of us, and perhaps it’s things like wanting your life to speed up so that you can graduate from college, regain your freedom once your children are out of the house, and so on.
However, when was the last time you:
- Spent time thinking or relaxing by yourself, with no distractions?
- Went on a walk or hike without any electronics?
- Stopped to enjoy the day – such as the smells, the sun, or the weather?
- Spent meaningful time with your family, including grandparents and other extended family members?
- Felt truly happy in a particular moment?
While thinking about the future is important, being able to be happy in the present is truly a gift!
Related reading on how to live in the present:
- 8 Things To Stop Being Afraid Of So You Can Be Rich, Happy, And Successful
- 10 Daily Challenges To Improve Your Life
- Are Your Excuses Making You Broke And Unsuccessful?
- Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life
- Are You Making Your Life Difficult? 18 Ideas To Simplify Your Life
- How To Reach Your 2018 Goals
Now, trying to live in the present doesn’t mean that you should give up on your future and not save for retirement, or something else along those lines. However, it does mean that you should have a healthy balance – living now and planning for your future.
If you ask anyone older than you about what they regret the most, it’s probably not enjoying life as much as they could.
Instead of rushing through your life to the next phase, you should think about what you can do today to enjoy your life now. And no, you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy life – you can do so on a budget.
Life goes by quickly, so finding happiness now is important.
After all, you only have this one chance.
Here are my tips on how to better live in the present and enjoy life:
- Think positively. Being positive can help you in many ways. Negative thoughts are something that plague many of us each and every day; however, they can wreck any happiness that you may be feeling. When learning to live in the present, negativity will definitely hold you back.
- Get rid of the “extra” in your life. The average person has a lot of extra stuff. In fact, the average house has over 300,000 items in it. That is a lot of stuff that could be messing with your mind and making you unhappy. If you are feeling bogged down by the clutter, try donating or selling some items from your home.
- Smile more. Just a simple smile can completely change your day. Thinking about happy things can easily change your outlook on life.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. You may find that you are comparing yourself to others and coming up with reasons for why something is impossible for you. By comparing yourself to others and minimizing their accomplishments, you are just holding yourself back. Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else, or it may require that you work even harder. But, that doesn’t mean that everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better off than you and people who are worse off. Instead of comparing your path to those around you, you should focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.
- Keep a journal. While I don’t currently have a journal, I do have this blog, which acts as a journal in a way. I am about to begin journaling in the form of paper and pen because keeping a journal can help you reflect on your past while making it easy to see how you are progressing towards your goals. Plus, spilling your heart out every so often is great for the mind and for the soul.
- Sit silently. When was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? For the average person, this is probably a rare occurrence. Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind.
- Appreciate the small things in life. When we take the time to see them, we all have small accomplishments and moments of bliss that happen every single day. Take the time to appreciate these small things. Whether it be enjoying the sunshine, enjoying the food you are eating, and so on, these small things can add up to a great deal of happiness.
- You can still dream. Remember, you can still dream. Today’s article is not saying that dreaming about the future is bad. Dreaming and setting goals for yourself is extremely important. The key here, though, is to have a healthy balance. Plan for the future, but enjoy the present as well.
Are you guilty of wanting to rush life? Are you currently happy and finding ways to live in the present? Why or why not?
The post For Those Who Want Life To Speed Up – Are You Dreaming Too Much About Tomorrow? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
Spring is here and it’s time to open the doors, shake out the rugs, and let some of that fresh air into your life again. Whether or not you’ve just endured a brutal, snowy winter, spring is a great time to make some positive changes that will help keep your momentum up all year long.
Here are 8 ways that you can spring clean your entire life, starting right now as we head into summer.
#1 Get started on your taxes and finances for next year
Yes, I know you probably just finished doing your taxes for last year, but there’s no better time to get everything in order for this year. If tax time is particularly stressful for you, get a jump start on entering your expenses and income into your favorite financial tracker Mint to make next year’s tax season a breeze. The first quarter of the year is already over, so don’t wait to get on top of your finances.
#2 Cut the monthly recurring clutter
If you have your bank and credit accounts linked up together with Mint, take a moment to review any monthly recurring expenses that you aren’t still using. You might be able to save hundreds of dollars by cutting out an unused gym membership now that the weather is nicer outside. To take full advantage of the beautiful weather, try pausing or canceling a streaming video subscription for a few months; you can always go back to it later when you want to spend more time inside again.
#3 Declutter one item or more per day
A big part of spring cleaning is clearing out the clutter that might have accumulated over the winter in your home. The best part is, decluttering doesn’t have to be terrible. You can make a fun game out of it by donating, selling, or recycling one thing every day for the entire month. Feeling ambitious? Try playing The Minimalist Game, which starts on a new month and ramp up the number of items you declutter as you go. One on the first day, two on the second day, three on the third, and so on.
#4 Clear out the closet and donate any clothes youâre not wearing
Especially if you live in a colder climate, it’s probably time to change over your wardrobe to a more seasonally-appropriate selection. Instead of packing all of winter clothes away, donate any sweaters and winter wear that didn’t get used over the last four months or so, then pack away the rest for when you’re ready to use it again. If you want to give a capsule wardrobe a try, check out Project333â33 items of clothing for three months.
#5 Eat a salad as a meal every day
While winter is the perfect time for hearty soups and stews, it’s time to break out the salad tongs and lighten up your fare. Try replacing one of your meals with a big salad each day and see how it makes you feel after a few weeks. It doesn’t have to be lettuce in a bowl either, you can get creative with your vegetables, toppings and dressings. Not only is this a great way to eat more greens, but you can save a bunch of money by preparing a lunch like this in advance instead of buying lunches out while at work.
#6 Dust the surfaces and corners in your home
If you’re going to do some spring cleaning, it should probably include some actual cleaning, right? Grab the duster and vacuum and pay special attention to the corners, nooks, and crannies around your home. A little attention to some often ignored areas can go a long way in making your space feel clean, open, and inviting. Now is a great time to pull your furniture and appliances out from the wall, wipe down cabinets, and dust the blinds.
#7 Check in on all of your credit cards, bank accounts, and monitor your credit score
About once a year, itâs good to make sure you actually have all of your credit and debit cards. Have you been locked out of your online savings account for a while? Call the company and get it figured out. Locate all of your physical credit and debit cards and make sure they’re all securely stored in your wallet or somewhere safe.
Most importantly, check your credit profile to make sure everything is on point and there aren’t any issues you weren’t aware of. You can use your Mint.com account to check your credit score without impacting your credit, and regularly monitor it completely free. It’s a great option that doesn’t require pulling your full report or paying for active monitoring.
#8 Change your passwords and enable 2-factor authentication when possible
Yes, it’s totally a pain but the best time to change and update any old or duplicated passwords is right now. Especially if you use the same password across several different sites, itâs important to change them up and use proper, secure passwords for each site. I highly recommend using a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane, they both streamline the process and make it easy to manage a huge number of proper passwords.
Even if you just pick a few of these ideas, you’ll surely reap the rewards of doing some spring cleaning this month. The more space you create for all the right things, the more easy and fun the rest of your year will be. Letâs get cleaning!
The post 8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Entire Life appeared first on MintLife Blog.