Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 3.
Retirement is like most things in life. With proper planning, things will probably turn out fine.
But, if you don't plan properly, things can go south fast.
Even if you do plan, there are many things you can forget or overlook completely. Still, most of the problems come with a complete lack of planning.
So, here, according to financial planners, are five of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to retirement planning.
- Not consulting a financial planner before you retire.
"We get a lot of people who will put in their retirement paperwork and then call a financial advisor, after they make the decision," says Nicolas Abrams at AJW Financial Partners in Columbia, Md. "Some people will retire without even talking to a financial advisor. They think they've got everything figured out and will step out there. They are 60 and ready to go."
That's a bad move.
"Those are the people who you find having to go back to work, because you realize they haven't planned properly and weren't ready to retire," he says.
- Not having a retirement plan.
They worked 30 years, but didn't have a retirement plan," says Wendell Fuller of Fuller Wealth Advisors in Richmond, Va. "I see that more than anything -- not having a true sense of what will be the true costs of retirement goals and dreams, or thinking of them in today's dollars, and in 10 or 15 years, with inflation, could cost more than you think. "
There needs to be a concrete strategy in place.
"A plan is going to force you to work at your financial situation and understand what you have," he adds. "A plan will force you to understand how much do I need in retirement to maintain my existing lifestyle in retirement. It helps you get an Understanding of your current budget.
"If you at retire at 65, you can live for another 30 years and you will need income," he says. "You also have to be accountable to what you've done at this point. Just recently met with new clients that purchased an annuity. Annuities have their place. I'm not particularly fond of them. They can be complex. You can have high fees and penalties. That's what we found in this case. They purchased a $200,000 annuity. It's worth about $180,000. They don't understand the intricacies. They are sold an annuity and hear the word guaranteed and don't ask enough questions. I see that often."
- Retiring too soon.
"You've worked 30 years and [think],'Now I'll treat myself and retire at age 55,'" says Fuller. "It's really early. It's a matter of retiring too soon. You don't want to retire and then have to go back to work."
- Rewarding yourself in retirement with that new car or that new house.
"One of the big mistakes I see is people retire and then they start renovating their house," says Abrams. "When you retire, you set a budget for them and get everything in place. And then because they are spending more time at home they start to realize they want to update the kitchen and bathroom and use money from the 401(k), or start taking out loans, or refinance their home, which is increasing debt. That can cause problems for them later down the road."
Fuller says he had a client who retired and immediately made a withdrawal from her retirement account and bought the new car she had been dreaming about. She didn't consult him, because she was afraid he would be say she couldn't afford it.
"If we could have planned for that, we could have made that work," he says. "In this case, it was not the right thing to do." Luckily, she was able to return the car.
- Not considering health care costs.
"People do not factor in health care costs in their retirement," says Abrams. "They don't realize what Medicare doesn't not cover. Medicare covers just up to 80%.
"And they don't plan for the costs of long-term care," he says. "If you or your spouse has to go into a nursing home, they are not prepared for how to pay for that in retirement."
Also, people forget that if they retire before 65, they must pay for health care costs until Medicare kicks in. "The government will let you stay on their plan until you turn 65, and so will some of the larger corporations," says Abrams. "But, now, they have to go to the Health Care Exchange. Prices will be more expensive because they company is not helping to subsidize those costs."