By Paul S. McNulty, CFP®
It’s one thing to regret staying up too late or choosing a restaurant with less-than-stellar reviews. But retirement regrets are a whole other ball game, and that’s because they are a lot harder to remedy once you’ve crossed the retirement finish line. Here’s the good news: if you aren’t retired yet, there’s still plenty of time to learn from others so your retirement can be as fulfilling and comfortable as possible. Take a look at these four tips that will help you work toward a regret-free retirement.
1. Save Early And Often
Many people, 55% according to a Global Atlantic Financial Group study, (1) enter retirement and discover several things they wish they’d done differently. And the number-one regret? Not saving enough. One of the ways to make sure you have the nest egg of your dreams is to save early and often. While it may be tempting to hold off on saving until the kids are out of the house or until you’re more established in your career, don’t. The longer you hold off saving for retirement, the harder it will be later on.
For every year you delay in saving, you’ll have to contribute exponentially more to reach your savings goals because of compound interest. If you start saving $400 per month at age 25, you would have $1 million saved by age 65 (assuming a 7% annual investment return). If you don’t start until age 35, you’ll have to save around twice as much to reach $1 million by age 65. Make it a priority to save, even if it seems like a small amount, and you’ll be on your way to avoiding this regret.
2. Set A Realistic Retirement Budget
A common retirement misconception is that you won’t need as much money in retirement as you do now. You may think that you won’t have a mortgage in retirement or that you won’t be supporting your kids anymore. And while your expenses will change, that doesn’t mean you’ll have fewer expenses. For example, healthcare costs can put a serious dent in your retirement savings. It is estimated that the average couple will need an average of $285,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement, and that’s often more than people have saved for retirement overall! (2)
To make sure you don’t underestimate your retirement needs, develop a clear picture of what you want in retirement and track your spending now so that you know how much retirement will cost. The key takeaway here is to create a retirement saving and spending plan specific to your lifestyle and your needs. While the general rule of thumb is that you’ll need 70-80% of your pre-retirement income to live on in retirement, that number may be more or less for you. Work with a professional to create a customized strategy so you aren’t scraping pennies together later in life.
3. Create Multiple Income Streams
Social Security is an important piece of your retirement income plan and you should create a claiming strategy to maximize your benefits, but did you know that the Social Security program was designed to replace just 40% of an average worker’s wages? (3) In other words, you’re going to need more than just Social Security to get through retirement.
Take stock of the tools available to get you to your retirement goal. What income sources do you have? This could be anything from IRAs to 401(k)s to pensions to annuities, even rental income or taxable brokerage accounts. It is important to analyze your alternative income sources and incorporate them into your overall retirement strategy.
4. Set Retirement Expectations
When it comes to retirement planning, a common mistake is to only focus on the financial side of things. Sure, it’s great if you have enough money saved, but you can’t enjoy your retirement if you are not fulfilled. Most people find their identity in their careers, and when their career ends, they don’t know what to do; they lose their feeling of purpose. Make a plan for your time in retirement so when you leave your job, you have something to look forward to. It could be travel, hobbies, volunteering, time with grandchildren, or even volunteer work. The important thing is to determine what your next step is going to be.
Experience A Fulfilling Retirement
No matter what your situation, it’s possible to enjoy your retirement and feel confident in your future. At Boston Metro Advisor, we understand that deciding when and how to retire is a difficult decision, but we want you to know that you don’t have to make the hard choices on your own. Our top priority is to find out what your ideal retirement looks like and work with you to make it a reality. If you want to have a regret-free retirement, contact us for a complimentary consultation by calling (781) 995-0253 or email me directly at [email protected] today!
Paul McNulty is the founder of Boston Metro Advisor with over 20 years of experience helping people navigate the ups and downs of the economy toward the financial future they envision. His education consists of a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Rhode Island and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional designation.
Paul’s experience and education have made him a multi-faceted professional capable of assisting people with virtually all their financial needs. His services include every facet of retirement planning, from 401(k) rollover services and income planning to wealth management and estate planning. Paul has been active in his community over the years as a youth sports coach. When he’s not spending time with his wife, Cindy, and their two children, who are both recent college graduates, Paul enjoys reading, playing golf, and fishing. Learn more about Paul by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing.