Human flaws are apparent in all areas of personal finance. They can throw you off course during your earning years, and they can do lasting damage as you approach retirement. All of these retirement planning sins can set you back from achieving important goals. If you have a nagging feeling that you could be doing a better job of retirement planning, check out these seven offenses and learn how to get back on track.
When retirement planning becomes complicated than you originally thought, it’s important to get help. Being prideful and going it alone leads to irrational decisions. A professional such as a Certified Financial Planner can help with your individual retirement plan. “Someone not doing this full time will be less likely to spot trouble,” says Larry Luxenberg, managing partner and chief investment officer of Lexington Avenue Capital Management. Examples of trouble spots are asset allocation and portfolio diversification. “When an amateur gets these wrong,” Luxenberg says, “it could spell the difference between a comfortable retirement and a much delayed one—or worse.” So swallow your pride when it comes to building a long-term portfolio, and get help if you know deep inside that you need it.
Envy drives people to compete with others and can thwart a retirement plan. “Driving new cars, acquiring a home in a fashionable neighborhood, and sending the kids to private school to keep up with their friends are surefire ways to minimize your retirement saving potential,” says Mark Petersen, CPA, CFP, and vice president of affluent wealth planning for Carson Wealth. Competing may also transfer to investing. Making risky bets and stock picking could lead to a financial disaster. The better course is to forget whom you’re envious of in the short term and invest in broad categories of asset classes to minimize your risk.
Don’t let anger cloud your judgment when leaving a job. Often, irrational decisions are made in the heat of anger. Leaving a job without sufficient planning could wreck retirement savings. “You may be living off that savings if your job search takes longer than expected, and voluntarily leaving employment may disqualify you for receiving unemployment benefits,” says Petersen. In addition, paying for COBRA insurance is generally more expensive than an employer group plan insurance premium, which is often paid by an employer. If you have to leave, it’s best to do it amicably. You’ll need a referral. Learn these smart tips for retiring early, from people who figured out how.