Simple Retirement Savings: Avoid Four Mistakes

By: Kelly Hutchinson | Category: Financial Services | Issue: December 2019

One day, you are going to retire - whether you’re planning to work for the next 5 years or the next 50. No matter when you stop working, your retirement plan is the key to your future. Social Security payments may help. But it’s not enough. You’ll need your own savings, too.

Set yourself up for success by avoiding these four mistakes:

1. Procrastinating.

The key to a happy, restful retirement is to save as much as possible for as long as possible. Your company’s 401(k) makes it easy, because the money comes out of your paycheck before you even miss it. If you haven’t joined your plan or started saving, do it now.

Your company doesn’t have a 401(k)? There are other retirement options like ROTH and traditional IRA accounts. Ask a professional wealth advisor which option may be best for you.

2. Stealing from your future self.

That’s what you do when you take a 401(k) loan or early withdrawal from your retirement account. Sometimes things get tough financially, but withdrawing retirement funds early should be your very last option.

3. Cashing out.

When you change jobs, you might be tempted to cash out and withdraw all your savings from your 401(k) plan. Don’t do it! Here’s why: You’ll have to pay taxes on the money and a 10% penalty, too. You’ll be left with about half in cash now - and back to zero for retirement.

Instead, roll over the money into a 401(k) at your new job, leave it in the old plan, or roll it to an IRA to stay on track to retire when you want.

4. Relying on guesswork.

1 + 1 = 2. Knowing how much money you need in retirement can be just as easy. Chances are it’s a pretty big number. But knowing is better than guessing. Use a retirement calculator (there are lots of them online) - you’ll have an answer in minutes.

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