Every day it seems like there is a new article making the rounds about the ways in which people fail at retirement planning—about how we’re not saving enough, or not planning as prudently as we should.
There’s a reason for this trend—many people do plan poorly for retirement, or they don’t plan at all, and the consequences can be dire. To be perfectly honest and balanced, though, we must acknowledge that there are many individuals and couples who do plan for their retirement, and who do it well.
Even when you’re vigilant and forward-thinking in your retirement planning, though—even when you make a great effort at saving and at calculating—there may be areas in your retirement plan that leave you vulnerable. No one is perfect, after all. This is especially true for those who do not work with professional planners: Your retirement plan may be excellent overall, yet a blind spot could exist—and it could jeopardize your otherwise top-notch retirement plan.
What are some of the most common retirement planning blind spots? Consider some of the following:
You may have spending targets that are a little too conservative, assuming that once you retire you’ll be spending a bit less money on a month-to-month basis, cutting down on work commutes, perhaps even downsizing your home. While many of us plan to spend less once we retire, statistics show that this often doesn’t pan out. There is a great chance that you’ll actually spend more, or just as much, once you retire.
You may underestimate how long you will live. This is all going to be a matter of best guesses and conjecture, of course, but the truth is that people are living longer than ever. Even another two or three years added to your life expectancy can throw a wrench in your retirement plans, so ensure that you’re planning for the longest life possible.
You may plan on some complex investment strategies that require your active involvement and monitoring—and that’s fine, except you’re not guaranteed to stay mentally strong and intellectually robust for the rest of your life. What happens if your mental capacities deteriorate a bit? You should plan to simplify your investments down the road, or else ensure that there are people you really trust, helping you out.
In fact, one of the biggest retirement planning blind spots of all is healthcare. It’s simply impossible to predict what sorts of medical needs you might develop, as you advance in years, but it is critically important to prepare for all contingencies.
Finally, the best-laid retirement plans can sometimes be placed into peril by family changes—a grandchild or great-grandchild arriving unexpectedly, perhaps with special needs; a child who has a major medical or employment crisis; some other family need that requires you to adjust your financial priorities. The key to responding to these changes is to remain flexible but also to have an advisor on hand who can help you prioritize and act.
That’s good advice just in general: Even the best retirement plans can benefit from some guidance and some troubleshooting. The Stonepath Wealth Management team is standing by to assist you in these matters and more!