Senior Resources » Don’t Make THESE 8 Retirement Planning Mistakes

Don’t Make THESE 8 Retirement Planning Mistakes

Retirement is exciting, scary, and overwhelming—in that order. Understandably, the thought of no longer having a steady income is daunting. However, it shouldn’t take away from the enjoyment or luster of your golden years! The key to a happy, stress-free retirement is proper planning. If you’re nearing retirement, age, you’re in the right place. Here are EIGHT common mistakes you should avoid when planning your retirement.


1. Not saving enough.

Many people believe that Social Security and pension benefits will cover their retirement expenses. Sadly, these sources of income may not be enough. According to a 2019 survey, half of American households have no retirement savings. Yikes! To avoid this mistake, you need to start saving early and choose the best retirement accounts. If you’re worried it’s too late for you, don’t fret. Instead, create a retirement budget. You can still live comfortably on a fixed income!

2. Ignoring healthcare costs.

I don’t have to tell you that healthcare costs can add up first. And while we try to take care of ourselves, health issues can still crop up unexpectedly. Medicare may cover some medical costs—but not all of them. Ignoring healthcare costs can drain your retirement savings faster than you think. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by adding a health savings account or long-term care insurance to your retirement plan. Also, factor healthcare expenses into your budget. Medicare supplement plans (or Medigap) can help ease the burden of unexpected healthcare costs.


3. Taking Social Security benefits too early.

fanned dollar bills

Taking Social Security benefits early can reduce your retirement income significantly. If you start taking benefits too early, you’ll receive a reduced payment for the rest of your life. Understanding how Social Security benefits work can maximize your income. In order to avoid this mistake, call your local Social Security office or talk to a financial advisor. They should be able to help you plan the best course of action!

Click HERE to find a Social Security office near you!

4. Overlooking tax planning.

Retirees often overlook tax planning and forget that they will still owe taxes on their retirement income. Tax-efficient withdrawal strategies can help you save a significant amount of money in taxes. First, make sure you understand the tax implications of your withdrawals from different retirement accounts. Consult a tax professional to determine the best tax planning strategies.

5. Not maximizing your retirement savings

Many people rely solely on Social Security payments during retirement. While that may be sufficient for some, it may not be for others. Contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) or IRA. These retirement accounts provide tax benefits that will help you grow your savings. Also, many employers match 401(k) contributions up to a certain percentage, which can help boost your savings even more!


6. Not having a retirement withdrawal strategy.

Once you’ve retired, you’ll have to start withdrawing funds from your retirement accounts to cover your expenses. Not having a withdrawal strategy can lead to overspending or running out of money too soon. Sadly, this is an all-too-common mistake, but you can avoid it with a little foreplanning! Determine how much income you need, which accounts to withdraw from first, and how to manage your taxes. Working with a certified financial planner can help you create a retirement withdrawal strategy that aligns with both your goals and budget.

7. Having too much debt.

Debt can be a huge burden during retirement. Make sure you pay off any significant debts before you retire, such as credit card balances or car loans. Paying off your debts now will help you avoid high-interest payments and free up more money for your retirement years. After all, nobody wants to waste their retirement fretting!

8. Not having a budget.

budgeting couple

Make a detailed budget that outlines your monthly income and expenses, including food, housing, transportation, and leisure activities. By creating a budget, you can identify areas where you may need to cut back or areas that could be increased to help you enjoy your retirement. In other words, it’ll help eliminate a few of those pesky worries!

Looking for more?

man counting money at a table confused

Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Make the most of your golden years by planning and saving as early as possible. Still on the hunt for more great budgeting tips? Then check out our Thrifty Tips Blog! Happy planning!


Originally published August 24, 2023

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