A comfortable retirement is definitely achievable. Yet, many people face tremendous retirement challenges because they spend years neglecting simple measures that would make having enough money in their golden years a certainty. Here are some common ways people blow their chances of having a comfortable retirement, which you can do without.
Not saving enough for a rainy day. Everyone needs to have an emergency fund. But while that's a good start, you also need much more than just 12 months of expenses stashed somewhere safe. People get laid off, have their salaries decreased, or their businesses shut down because of changing business climates all the time.
Assuming your current salary will continue. It might be overly optimistic to believe that if you save 5 percent of your paychecks every year for the next 30 years you’ll have enough to retire comfortably. You might not be making the same level of income or get regular raises for 3 decades in a row. That's why you can't really be saving too much unless you’ve already hit your ultimate retirement goal.
Fail to factor in inflation. You might think you’re playing it safe by putting your nest egg in a bank account that is FDIC insured. But earning next to nothing each year can be dangerous for retirees because inflation will erode the purchasing power of your money. It’s important to select some investments that are likely to keep up with inflation in retirement and maintain some diversification in your portfolio.
Not looking far enough into the future. Some people get into stock investing while they are young, spending hours every day trying to pick a winning investment. But when you are young, your nest egg is small, so you should spend your time trying to maximize your earnings potential instead. As your assets grow, it is prudent to start spending more time on your investments because there is simply more to lose. There is no shame in finding an investment adviser to help you manage your money, but you should still be very much involved. You are responsible for growing and protecting your own nest egg.
Allowing lifestyle inflation. It's easy to inflate your lifestyle as you earn more. It’s as simple as one more night out, more frequent updates to your possessions, and a few upgrades and you have just exponentially increased your expenses. Though there are a few ways to buy a bit of happiness, too many people make the mistake of thinking that spending more money automatically creates lasting joy. In reality, it's having the ability to spend whenever you want that will truly make you happy. Learn to control your spending, and a comfortable retirement is really just a byproduct.
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.