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Sacramento Boomer

7 Deadly Sins Of Retirement Planning

Have you been cautiously eyeing the date when you will no longer be receiving a paycheck? Anticipating the freedom and adventure of retirement, yet feeling a sense of uncertainty about your financial security? To help alleviate your anxiety, we polled some experts in financial planning and they gave us a list of deadly sins to avoid when it comes to retirement planning.

Failure to plan

Virtually every retirement and financial professional agreed on this as the most common (and deadly) of the “Sins.” “Close to 1/3 of all Americans have zero retirement savings,” says Launi Cooper of Retirement Funding Solutions. Chris Wilczewski of Edward Jones adds, “There’s a huge advantage to starting [to save] early as your money is compounded and allows you to build a greater cushion”. “Even folks in their fifties are not too late…but don’t wait until your mid-sixties,” he cautions.


Carrying debt into retirement

Clint Herndon CPA at Next Peak Cpa shares this advice, “most people will experience a decrease in income when they retire, and yet there are many who carry the same expenses with them into retirement.  One way to make a retirement plan successful is to have as little debt as possible when it is time to call it a career.  Credit cards, medical bills, automobile payments, student loans, and even mortgages can, and should, be paid off if possible so that retirees can enjoy retirement without stressing about the monthly bills.”

No strategy for long-term health care

The numbers can be staggering, especially if you need full-time care—either in-home or in a private facility. “Many people find themselves spending down their assets. They work all their lives to be able to retire and are then saddled with medical costs that drain home equity and savings,” says Wilczewski. Additionally, life expectancy is longer now than at any time in history. Cooper reminds us, “If you’re a 65-year-old couple, you could potentially live into your 90’s. Retirement income experts caution that you must plan for increased longevity.” 

Trying to get rich quick

Herndon recommends,“The best strategy for retirement planning, which has been proven by numerous everyday millionaires, is the slow and steady approach.  This means contributing meaningful amounts consistently over many years and finding investments that have solid returns. It may mean sacrificing some exceptional gains, but it also means avoiding huge losses. As the old saying goes, ‘What matters is not timing the market but time in the market.’”

Depending solely on social security

“Social Security was never designed to supplement more than 40% of retiree needs,” according to Cooper. “And, many turning 62 do not understand that deferring Social Security benefits until 70 can radically improve monthly income for later years.” 

Drawing on investments & IRA’s in a down market/Lack of diversity

This is a two-part caution. Part one is “‘Sequence of Return Risks’ and can prematurely deplete your retirement savings account,” cautions Cooper. Part two comes from Wilczewski who says, “I frequently have clients tell me all of their money is tied up in their business, house, or job.” He gives this analogy to elucidate, “Would you rather get into an elevator with one cable attached or several?” 

Reacting too quickly to market changes

“I’ve seen clients pull out of the market during a downturn, taking heavy losses, and being poorly positioned when there is an uptick. A loss in the market is only a loss on paper unless you sell—then it becomes a real loss. I recommend working with a trusted professional advisor and following their advice during changes in the market,” says Herndon

By Lorn Randall

Thank you to our experts:

Launi Cooper, Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist at Retirement Funding Solutions, 916-343-2211,

Chris Wilczewski, AAMS Finacial Advisor at Edward Jones, 916-260-5996, 

Clint Herndon, CPA, at Next Peak CPA,