Don’t Let These 4 Things Hold You Back from a Successful Retirement

Each person’s idea of a successful retirement looks different from someone else’s.

However, no matter who you are, there are some things that can keep you from achieving your vision of retirement success.

As you plan for your future, be careful; don’t let the following 4 things hold you back from a successful retirement:

1. Insufficient Savings

If you aren’t setting aside enough for retirement, it will be hard to live the lifestyle you want.

Insufficient savings can lead to a situation in which you don’t have a large enough nest egg to draw on.  You might want to be able to withdraw $40,000 a year, but if you don’t have the right size nest egg, you might only be able to withdraw $25,000 a year to support your retirement lifestyle.

In order to avoid this problem, make your retirement contributions automatic.  Set aside money each month to help you reach your retirement goals.  Regular retirement plan contributions to your 401(k), 403(b), or IRA are important if you expect to come out ahead eventually.

And remember: Social Security isn’t a retirement plan.  Benefits are likely to be cut down the road.  You can’t rely on Social Security; you need to make plans to provide for yourself in retirement.  That means beefing up your retirement savings plan.

2. Debt

One of the biggest reasons for an unsuccessful retirement is debt.

Debt in retirement

Don’t let debt hold you back from a successful retirement.

When you retire with debt, you are severely limiting yourself.  The more demands on your income, and the more obligations that you have, the greater the difficulty of retiring successfully.  A successful retirement involves reducing your regular obligations, and the wealth-draining power of debt is one of the biggest problems you can face in retirement.

Instead of letting debt hold you back, take charge.

Begin living within your means, and start paying down debt.  Look at your finances, and recognize some of your problems.  Then, create a plan to pay down debt.

You might be surprised to find that you do have the money to pay down debt.  Plug the money leaks in your budget, make a plan to tackle debt.  By the time you get to retirement, you will be ready.

3. Market Setbacks

Unfortunately, market setbacks do happen.

If there are market setbacks at the beginning of your retirement, it can be a real problem later.  Be aware that market setbacks are a reality, and that they can drain your portfolio.  What you need to combat this difficulty is a plan to cultivate income diversity.  Consider the fact that you may not be able to rely wholly on your retirement portfolio throughout your retirement.

Look for ways to establish various income streams right now.

You can start an income investment portfolio comprised of less risky investments that can add up over time.  You can also start a side business that brings in money on the side.  You can even continue with this side business after you retire from your “real” job.  Royalties, part-time jobs, odd jobs, and hobbies that can bring in side income are all ways to diversify your income.

You may have to work a little longer if market setbacks affect your portfolio, but it’s usually not so bad if you have a plan in place.  Think of ways to diversify your income, and build up income streams now, so that in retirement you aren’t completely devastated by market setbacks.

4. Failure to Plan for What You Want to Do

We don’t often think about what we expect to do during a successful retirement — and this can be a big mistake.

You need to know what you want to do, and the lifestyle you expect to live.  The amount of money you need if you plan to travel a lot is different from the amount you need if you expect to travel occasionally, and spend most of your time visiting your children and grandchildren.

Realize that your lifestyle choices will affect how much money you need to save, and the type of monthly income requirements you have.  Think about what you want your retirement to look like right now, and create a savings plan that will help you achieve your vision of a successful retirement.

You’ll be happier now, with the peace of mind you have, and happier in the future, when your retirement truly is a success.

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Published or updated October 25, 2012.


  1. I started now to find things to do in retirement (5 years). I plan to start volunteering this year and keep writing my blog (started 2 years ago).

  2. Preparing for retirement is so complex and i think a lot of people just avoid it rather than deal with it. A huge mistake. I am saving a great percent of my income and trying to start a side business but market downturns are out of my control. When I get closer to retirement (not 40ish years away) I’ll have a better idea of what I want to do in retirement.

  3. We were doing so well…and then we decided to get our dream home built. Oops. I think we are on pause for at least the rest of this year, but then we’ll hit the ground running. We like investing in our Roth IRAs and high dividend stocks…

  4. Planning for retirement is key. I know what I want to do, now I just need to save enough to pay for it all. My husband doesn’t want to plan though, which makes it lot harder.

  5. The only reason SS will not be here is if our country continues to foolishly spend half its revenues on War/Defense/Homeland Security while uncaring politicians look to SS to cover the cost. SS is self-sustaining.

  6. selfmade says:

    does exist in english also a get rich forum like in german?

    thanks for help

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