Thereâs an abundance of advice on how to plan for retirement. Oh, itâs good advice. But itâs also a bit complicated, often requires discipline and always necessitates actually doing something.
And letâs face it: Who needs advice? Who wants to actually do something? Here are 20 ways to ignore the expertsâand wreck your chances of a financially comfortable retirement:
1. Keep thinking retirement is so far in the future that thereâs no need to act now. Thereâs still plenty of time. After all, youâre only [insert age].
2. Avoid saving when youâre young and instead play catch-up starting at age 50. At that juncture, the government allows you to save more in both employer plans and IRAs, so that must mean itâs OK to wait.
3. Bank on being able to work until age 75 or beyond.
4. Live for today, so you accumulate debt right up until the day you hope to retire.
5. Invest in individual stocks you pick personally. Almost as good: If offered a retirement plan at work, close your eyes and pick the three options that sound best.
6. Ignore all the retirement planning tools available to you. Theyâre just too time consuming.
7. Never contribute to your 401(k), because right now there are so many better uses for the cash. Canât resist the savings urge? Make sure you contribute at a level where you donât earn the full employer match.
8. Keep the same mix of investments at age 60 that you had at age 25. Change is not good.
9. Take your Social Security at age 62, needed or not. Itâs your money. Grab it while you can.
10. Only save in tax-deductible accounts and donât bother with the Roth, let alone taxable accounts. That way, you can spend your retirement paying ordinary income tax on all your investment gains.
11. Ignore the need to provide for survivors. Donât designate beneficiaries for your 401(k) or IRA. Donât bother with life insurance. Got a pension? Talk your spouse into agreeing to a single life annuity benefit. After all, itâs your pension, right?
12. Make sure all your savings are in tax-favored plans, so they arenât easily accessible in an emergency. What about the income taxes and potential tax penalties? You worry too much.
13. Assume there will be a major drop in your spending when you retire. Make a list of all your expenses, just to be sure. Are things looking a little tight? For goodnessâ sake, donât tell your spouse.
14. Cancel that long-term-care policy you bought years ago. If you havenât needed it so far, you likely never willâand, besides, you have plans for that premium refund.
15. Youâve been waiting so long to buy that boat or RV. You deserve it. And what do you know? Itâs so easy to get a 401(k) loan.
16. Invest heavily in your employerâs stock. Thereâs no doubt itâs a good companyâand not at all like Enron.
17. Donât worry about inflation after you retire. Itâs been low for years and no doubt itâll stay that way.
18. When someone tries to explain the power of compounding, donât bother listening to all that gobbledygook.
19. When thereâs a big drop in the stock market, make sure you shift into bonds. Thereâs no point sitting around and losing everything.
20. Still got money left for retirement? Tell your adult kids youâre always willing to help them out financially.
This column originally appeared on Humble Dollar. It has been republished with permission.
Richard Quinn blogs at QuinnsCommentary.com. Before retiring in 2010, Dick was a compensation and benefits executive. His previous articles include Donât Call Me That, Happily Ever After and The Office. Follow Dick on Twitter @QuinnsComments.