The 5 Worst Ways to Save for Retirement

Some methods of saving could hurt your retirement security.

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Many of us should be ramping up our efforts to save for retirement. But not all methods of saving money are worth the cost. Here are five retirement saving strategies that could actually leave you worse off in retirement.

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Neglecting your health. Never neglect your health in exchange for saving more money. If you aren't healthy, there's really no point in having a bunch of money. When you feel dizzy and tired all the time, watching a bank balance with a bunch of digits is not going to help at all. A big part of a comfortable retirement involves having a healthy body. So, consider what you are really sacrificing when you skip preventative care or eat unhealthy food to save a few dollars now.

Saving instead of paying off credit card debt. Whether you should save for retirement or pay off debt is an age-old question. But high interest credit card debt should always be eliminated first. It doesn't make sense to try earning a modest return while paying 20 percent a year or more for interest.

[See 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Contribute to a 401(k).]

Saving in ways you can't openly talk about. If you can't comfortably talk about how you are saving money for your retirement, then it might not be worth the cost. It would be very difficult to live a comfortable retirement knowing you had to cheat others to obtain it. If you have to steal or scam your way into your millions, you will eventually regret it. You will enjoy your retirement more knowing that you obtained it through honest and legitimate hard work.

Making today miserable. Saving for tomorrow involves learning and accepting the idea of delayed gratification. But while the future is important, you need to have some fun today too. Don’t forget about retirement, but also remember that you have to live a little. Money isn't for hoarding.

[See 8 Last-Minute Ways to Stretch Your Nest Egg.]

Never giving. Practically everyone in our society can afford to give. If money is tight, we can probably afford to donate our time through volunteer work. We are truly lucky to have a hot meal on our table every day and have many luxuries in our lives that we often take for granted. Giving will bring you a lifetime of incredible memories, which is much more meaningful than a few numbers in a bank statement.

Retirement planning is an extremely important aspect of our lives. But contributing to a 401(k) account should never be your number one priority, unless you want to miss out on a lot in life.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.