In this new market environment, investors need to reevaluate their investment strategies. In this article, the folks at Jeffrey Small Arbor Financial discuss the top ten mistakes they see people making when saving for retirement and offer advice for adjusting their plan of attack. They also examine the dilemma of what to do with your portfolio as interest rates rise.
1) Not taking retirement seriously enough
There is a large gap between how long we are expected to work and how long our savings are supposed to last. How many people do you know who have retired only to find themselves broke three or four years later? And some studies suggest that it’s becoming increasingly more common every year.
2) Assuming Social Security will be around when you’re ready to retire
The latest Trustees Report indicates that Social Security will go into the red just two years from now. If you’re banking on this as part of your funding plan, you may find yourself in for a rude awakening unless something changes quickly.
3) Not taking inflation into account
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that inflation is real, and it will come back with a vengeance at some point. It’s difficult to say how soon, but we can be sure that it will occur, and by the time it does, you’ll want as much of your income as possible to be safe from its bite.
4) Not contributing enough money to your retirement fund
Sounds simple right? I mean, who wouldn’t contribute more if they had more money? Unfortunately, most people tend to leave their money in low-interest savings accounts; the result is that it takes longer to achieve your goal.
5) Being too conservative with your investments
Even though inflation might be under control, for now, you should still be giving some consideration to investing in growth assets like stocks and real estate. If you’re not, your savings plan may go off the rails as it fails to keep pace with inflation over time.
6) Not paying enough attention to how your investments are performing
If something appears to be working, then we tend to stick with it until it stops. But blindly continuing along a path towards failure doesn’t make much sense. At the very least, you should be looking at your investments and considering what changes need to be made to improve performance and get back on track.
7) Believing that markets don’t go down as well as up
Markets move in cycles, but many people tend to forget this when they see their portfolio value rise one year and fall the next. They assume that a drop in value will continue rather than assuming it is part of a normal, healthy cycle.
8) Not investing enough to beat inflation
Inflation happens, and although no one knows exactly how high it might go, you should do your best to make sure that your investments are growing at a rate that outpaces inflation. By failing to do that, you increase your money’s chances won’t last as long as you will.
9) Assuming the stock market is risky
When investments are held for a long time, they can produce some very high returns. And if you’re thinking of working with an adviser who doesn’t understand this concept, I encourage you to run the other way. Risky investments are those that can lose value quickly and should be avoided unless you’re getting compensated with high enough returns to justify that additional risk.
10) Not considering where you will live in retirement
Many people assume they’ll want to live where they currently do, but given enough time, family dynamics change, children leave home, and you may find yourself wanting to be closer to them. As your situation changes, your housing needs might also change, so it’s important to keep this in mind when building your plan.
The bottom line is simple: Life is constantly changing, which means our financial strategies should constantly evolve. If you fall into the trap of taking what worked for you in the past and assuming that it will do so in the future, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.