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