10 mistakes that can sabotage your retirement savings

By RetirementFOXBusiness

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According to a Gallup poll, 51% of nonretired Americans don’t think they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Retired Americans are more confident, with 78% saying that they have enough money to live comfortably. However, wherever you are on the spectrum, no matter if you are just starting to save for retirement or are already retired, there are mistakes that can sabotage your retirement nest egg.

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Rodger Friedman, managing director and founding partner at Steward Partners Global Advisory, who has helped with retirement planning for decades, shared with FOX Business 10 mistakes people are making that have the potential to sabotage their retirement finances.

1. Not considering the impact of taxes on your retirement income

Savers need to consider how taxes could take a bite out of their cash pile. Some retirement savings plans are taxed upon withdrawal. According to Friedman, a big mistake many retirees make is thinking Social Security isn’t taxed. In reality, up to 85% of Social Security can be taxed.

2. Not considering the impact of health care costs in retirement

This includes deductibles, out of pocket payments, etc., not just the costs for a health care plan.

3. Not considering the impact of potential long-term care costs in retirement

While many may be aware that they will have health care costs in retirement, they may forget to consider the day-to-day costs of long-term care. This includes assisted living, nursing homes and in-home care. According to Friedman, sometimes Medicare will pay for some sort of assistance for 30 days, but beyond that it has to come from your own pocket.

4.  Not having adequate liquidity and an emergency fund

In retirement, it is important to have money invested appropriately so that it can be accessed when you need cash. According to Friedman, “you need liquidity to access cash without pain, whether that pain is the IRS or market forces.”

5. Tying up too much money in your home.

A house isn’t a liquid investment, so by having too high of a percentage of your net worth tied up in a home, you may run into a liquidity crunch.

6. Entering retirement with significant levels of debt

Debt can cripple finances, therefore, it is important to pay off or reduce your debt before retirement.

But, Friedman has a cautionary note to those who put off retirement savings to pay off debt. He says, don’t do it. This is because many people can’t afford to pay off their debt quickly, and if they keep postponing saving until they are debt free, they may never get to that point and, therefore, won’t save for their retirement.

7. Not having a plan for Social Security

There are numerous strategies for using Social Security to maximize the amount of money you will receive. For example, although a retiree can begin getting Social Security payments at 62, however, the government awards  those who delay withdrawing from Social Security with more money. Social Security has a website breaking down the payment changes so you can consider whether, financially, early or late retirement is right for you. It can be found here.

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8. Spending too much money early in your retirement

9. Taking no risk, too little risk or too much risk

It is important to consider your risk tolerance. Being too risk averse could erode the value of a savings plan. For example, if you have a very low-risk plan such as solely investing in Certificate of Deposits (CDs), then the fees could end up being more than your investments’ total return.

10. Believing you can do it yourself without professional credentialed help

The American Retirement Association and The American Association of Retired Persons provide resources about retirement.