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Avoiding the Big Retirement Mistakes

For most of us, building a comfortable retirement is one of the lengthiest and most difficult accomplishments of our lifetime. Yet, plenty of us end up tarnishing that accomplishment with a simple misstep (or two). After spending decades working towards a goal, too many people set themselves back with easy-to-avoid mistakes.

Here are a few tips to avoid these pitfalls.

Moving Without Knowing the Place

Many people move to a new state once they retire. Whether it’s for a lower tax rate, a better climate or to be closer to family, it may not be the optimal choice for you. Unfortunately, moving is expensive and some find out the hard way that they don’t actually like their new home, the community, or the neighbors.

A number of publications list the best (and worst) places to retire. The lists change annually but it can be helpful in doing some research and exploring different options. Additionally, a little common sense and patience is advised – give the new place a lengthy trial before committing yourself.  If it’s a vacation destination, see what it’s like in the off-season when the tourists are gone. Then, if you decide to relocate, rent a place for at least a year to get a good feel for the area before you jump in and buy property in your new hometown.

Not Having a Safe Withdrawal Rate

One way that retirees burn through their savings too quickly is by not knowing how much they can safely spend. The solution is simple: go over your investments with a trusted advisor and find out how much you can withdraw each year without depleting your savings too quickly. The average recommendation is 4%, however yours may be different depending on your current nest egg and lifestyle. Each case is unique and delicate.

You should also make sure you have enough savings left over in case you live longer than expected. Running out of money in your 90s is definitely not what most people would consider an ideal scenario.

Not Knowing How to Spend Your Time

Knowing how to spend your money in retirement is important, but it’s also vital to know how to spend your time. Working can take up more than half of our waking hours, and many people are surprised to find they aren’t sure what they want to do once they clock out for the last time.

To avoid this dilemma, I like to reference Jim Craft, Live Life by Design founder. In his program he talks about how to live a life with 30 years of Saturdays. He recommends taking time before retirement to find a hobby or side job that you enjoy. “One of the common retirement mistakes is simply that people assume they will be happier in retirement. A lot of people spend their working lives dreaming of retirement when it’s not really retirement they want, but a job they can enjoy and more control over their work.” 

The Bottom Line

There are as many ways to screw up your retirement as there are to save for it. Thankfully, many mistakes are small and easy to recover from. If you’re able to avoid these mistakes listed above, and you’ll give yourself the best chance for smooth sailing during your golden years.


This commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Gainplan LLC employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Gainplan LLC or performance returns of any Gainplan LLC Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Gainplan LLC manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


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