(TNS)—As diligent as you have been about saving for retirement, your ego might have been quietly working against you the whole time. Even the best-laid plans fail, and your retirement plan is no exception. Here are three ways your ego is rearing its ugly head and how you can regain control of your financial plan before you retire.
Many newly retired people find that their reality doesn’t live up to the grandiose dreams they had for their retirement. As you save for retirement, you should periodically give yourself a reality check.
Statistics show that you should lower your expectations and save more aggressively. According to a survey conducted by the Insured Retirement Institute, only 27 percent of baby boomers are confident that they will have enough money to last through their retirement (which is down from 33 percent a year ago).
If you find yourself part of this 27 percent, you will want to ensure that your confidence is not unfounded. One way to make sure that you are adequately prepared is to calculate your projected expenses — the costs to maintain your current home, transportation, health care, and other predictable expenses — and determine whether any changes to your current budget are necessary.
Don’t let overconfidence wrongly convince you that you don’t need to downsize your lifestyle. Few people have the ability to replace 100 percent of their preretirement income, but by eliminating nonessential expenses and saving for monthly bills and emergencies, your likelihood of building a substantial nest egg is greatly increased.
Not Making Time for Tough Conversations
Doting on your grandchildren is easy. Having an honest conversation with your adult children about what your financial transition into retirement will really look like can be difficult.
It’s hard to go from raising your children to discussing finances with them — and perhaps even heeding their advice — but it helps to be candid with them. If your situation looks bleak, they might be able to help.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 23 percent of adults with retired parents contributed some sort of financial assistance during 2012, and 72 percent of those adult children says their contributions were for ongoing expenses. Regardless of your comfort level with your retirement account balances or your and your family’s busy schedules, you need to make these conversations a priority. In the event that you’re not as ready for retirement as you think, or the market unexpectedly goes south, you might be faced with looking to your adult children for some form of support, whether it’s financial or logistical.
Fear of Diversification
Just because you’re heading toward retirement doesn’t mean you have to settle for the same low-risk investments that everyone else seems to be chasing since the recent market downturn. You also don’t want to expose yourself to unwarranted risks that you won’t have time to recover from, however. A 2015 report from Fidelity Investments showed that baby boomers are keeping too much of their assets in the stock market — in fact, 10 percent of people ages 55 to 59 have all of their 401(k) assets in stocks.
To maintain a comfortable standard of living and maximize your retirement benefits, it is beneficial to seek out low-cost investments that offer steady returns while minimizing short-term risks. Consult a financial advisor about the benefits of diversifying beyond traditional stocks and bonds. Options like index funds, exchange-traded funds and blue-chip dividend stocks can provide adequate returns along with favorable expense and fee structures that make them viable alternatives for boomers.
Gina Horkey writes for GOBankingRates.com.
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