4 Ways We Sabotage Our Retirement

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated January 28, 2021

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July 22, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Investing for retirement can be complicated, but that doesn’t mean that we should leave ourselves unprepared for our golden years. Putting a little effort into retirement planning now can make your later years that much easier. Don’t sabotage your retirement. If you are doing any of these things, you should rethink your retirement strategy:

We get it. Emergencies happen. Things come up. Sometimes, you are strapped for cash and need a quick influx of money. Many people immediately go to their retirement investments when this happens. The problem with using your retirement money as a piggy bank is twofold. One, you take away a little bit here and a little bit there, and suddenly, when it’s time to retire, you are short the cash you will need to survive. Two, most of the time, borrowing from a retirement fund like a 401(k) or an IRA comes with penalties. So not only are you taking the money away from your retirement, you are also paying hundreds or thousands in penalties.

There is a reason so many people say that it’s never too early to start investing in your retirement. It’s a great idea. The sooner you start investing, the easier it will be to continue to save throughout your life for retirement. If you start putting 10% of your salary away in your early 20s, you won’t have to put so much aside when you get older. This could even lead to early retirement, which so many of us would love. If you aren’t investing in your retirement, start right now, otherwise you could be putting upwards of 40% of your income toward retirement later.

Many people pick a general number, say $1 million, and aim for that for retirement. The problem is everyone is different. What you might need for retirement might be much more than what somebody else needs. If you save that million, then get to retirement and find out you needed $2 million, you are stuck. Make sure to calculate how much you are going to need for retirement. If you are going to need $60,000 a year, you need to save $1.5 million. Always multiply your yearly needs by 25. Also, take into account things like increased need for medical assistance later in life. Medical bills take up a huge chunk of retired people’s income.

Investing can be complicated and confusing, so many people will pick their investments based on feelings or emotions. This can be an easy way to sink your investments. Make sure you are going into the investment process with knowledge and informed decisions. If you don’t know what you are doing, hire a financial expert. If you can’t afford an expert, online investing sites like E*TRADE can offer expertise at very little cost.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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