The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have About Retirement – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

It is easy to identify things you could have done differently knowing what you know today. If only we had a crystal ball, life could be so much easier. 

Well, it is not a crystal ball, but we do have those who have gone before us to pull from their experiences to help improve our future.  After nearly 30 years of helping people with retirement, I hear a lot of the same things repeated from retirees about what they would have done differently.

Here are the top five regrets I hear from retirees that you may want to consider as you make important decisions about your future:

I Wish I Had Started My Transition Plans Earlier

Obviously, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the longer growth compounds for you over time. But saving isn’t the only thing retirees regret putting off.  Many retirees wait until the last few weeks or months before they want to retire to begin planning for the actual transition. 

After discussing what is involved with their transition into retirement — from accumulating assets to protecting and preparing to distribute assets — I often hear that they wish they would have started planning their retirement sooner.  They admit that there is more to the preparation than they thought was needed.  

The biggest retirement myth is the thought that having a large 401(k) or investment account is all that is needed to retire but, there is more to it than simply having enough money and choosing a date. It is best to map things out a few years prior to the big day.

I Wish I Had Gotten Help with High-Level Strategies Sooner

This one piggybacks a bit on the previous one, suggesting that you only know what you know.  Making assumptions about your retirement is a slippery slope because there is so much to be considered, and time is of the essence for a plan to unfold and be successful.

If you want to avoid adding to your “woulda, coulda, shoulda” list, don’t navigate the maze of decisions, actions and products alone.  Even if you have a heightened understanding of the markets, your access to products and understanding the tax implications of retirement is difficult for even a seasoned financial adviser to keep up with, much less someone in an unrelated field.

A real challenge for some people is accepting that they might have blind spots in their understanding of what needs to be done and keeping an open mind to a professional’s opinion.

I Wish I Had Been Open to Changing Strategies

This is a big one, and …….


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