Most of us plan for retirement by imagining our ideal scenario, working toward a savings goal, and hoping that everything will work out as planned. But what if you could also talk to current retirees, or those soon to retire, about their successes and regrets? What do they wish they had done differently, and can you learn from their experiences?
Actually, yes. Many polls and research studies take a closer look at these exact issues, so that we can apply these lessons to our own retirement plans.
“I wish I had started saving earlier”. In one recent poll, 52 percent of respondents said that they wish they had started saving for retirement earlier*. It’s common for workers to neglect retirement savings in favor of more immediate goals, but we can never make up for lost time. Interest compounds throughout the years, so even if you finally start saving later, you really can’t regain lost years of interest.
“I wish I had saved more”. We know that no one ever regrets saving too much money for retirement! But plenty of people – 47 percent, in fact – wish that they had saved more*. Since it’s difficult to predict your future lifestyle goals, as well as factors like inflation and the cost of healthcare, it’s always a good idea to save as much money as you can.
“I wish I had considered the worst-case scenario”. New research from the National Endowment for Financial Education shows that the overwhelming majority of people confront at least one major financial setback during their working years. Things like job loss or a major illness can tempt us to raid our retirement funds (or simply have no other choice), putting our retirement plans on hold for many more years. Many retirees, or those soon to retire, wish they had established rainy day funds or considered insurance options to protect themselves.
“I wish I had planned for my day-to-day life in retirement”. With so much focus on savings goals and retirement incomes, many forget to plan for their daily lives in retirement. Unfortunately, for some, the transition from career to retirement isn’t as easy as you might think. The loss of personal identity can be difficult for those who based that on their jobs, so make sure to plan for hobbies or interests that give you a sense of purpose.
Consulting with a financial advisor is another way to avoid retirement regrets. Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your goals for the next stage in life, and we’ll help you prepare for that transition.