One of the biggest financial goals in our life is saving enough for retirement. It can often feel challenging and confusing because we don’t have all of the facts or we listen to myths and outdated information from others. Some adults believe that they are financially prepared while others feel like they will have to work well into their Golden Years before even thinking about retiring.
Understanding the facts, instead of lies, about saving for retirement is key for a successful retirement plan. After all, knowledge is power that we can all benefit from throughout our lives. Here we list 10 of the biggest lies about retirement planning.
1. "I can’t afford it!"
One of the biggest lies about retirement is not being able to save money for retirement. Studies have shown some people assume they don’t make enough or have money left over from their paycheck after paying their bills to save for retirement. Even if you don’t make a ton of money you can still find ways to stash at least $20 toward your retirement plan. Experts recommended cutting costs in small places like bringing your lunch to work instead of going out to a restaurant. Those savings could add up and be applied toward your retirement account. If your employer offers a retirement plan, then you should take advantage of the opportunity and contribute at least 1% of your salary. So skip that $5 latte next time and save some money.
2. "I still have time to save for retirement."
Building a nest egg early on is really important and many think they have plenty of time to start saving for retirement later on in life. There are also others who don’t want to start thinking about their future retirement plans because they're too young. The reality is that the longer you wait to start saving for retirement, the more difficult it will be for you to save. If you are between the ages of 45 and 55 and have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, then you are playing a hard catch-up game. It’s best to start early and avoid the risk of not having enough money to live off of during retirement.
3. "I’m relying on Social Security."
The future of Social Security is up in the air, so relying only on this for your retirement is a gamble. The reason why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in this basket is because the amount of money going into the Social Security program is not enough to provide everyone with those benefits. Unlike retirees from years past, Social Security may not be around for the next generation of retirees.
4. "I don't need a 401(k) plan or other retirement account."
Only 57% of workers are actively saving for retirement, which is down from 65% in 2009, according to the Retirement Confidence Survey. Employees who are eligible to contribute to their job's retirement plans are choosing to opt out because of their high cost of living and daily expenses. Financial planners also recommend diversifying your retirement accounts with a traditional or Roth IRA account, which will give you more freedom to invest in other ways.
5. "I’ll adjust when the time is right."
The time may never be right. If you haven’t made changes to your spending and saving habits now then how will you adjust in the future? Those bad habits can trickle down and impact your retirement goals. Experts agree that if you continue a bad financial habit, more than likely you will carry that with you when you retire. Just remember, money can run out faster than you think. Once that money runs out you will have no choice but to adjust your financial habits, which can be harder to do in retirement.
6. "I’m having fun with my money now instead of later."
Sure you work hard for your money and you want to enjoy every last penny. But you can also save money for retirement while you enjoy your hard earned cash. Just follow the 50/20/30 budget rule. From your take-home pay you should apply 50% toward essential expenses like groceries, housing, and utilities. At least 20% should go toward retirement contributions, savings, and debt payments. The last 30% can be spent on anything fun like shopping, gifts, entertainment, traveling, etc. Sticking to this rule can help you reach your retirement goal while still paying your bills and treating yourself once in awhile.
7. "I’ll use the equity in my home to retire."
Don’t forget about the housing crisis that happened a few years ago. It would be a big mistake to tell yourself that you could always fall back on the equity of your home for retirement. It’s a risky option that leaves you gambling with your retirement. If you sell your home, where will you live? If the real estate market is down, how will you sell your home? Will you even get a good price off your home to live comfortably? These are some of the realities that you may need to face if you are relying only on this option for your retirement.
8. "I need to pay for my kid’s college first."
College is a big expense and it’s a smart move to try and set money aside for it, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t save the full amount. There are financial aid programs, federal grants, scholarships, and private loans that can help in a pinch. But in retirement, there are no loans to help you get by. Saving for retirement is more important than saving for college so it should take top priority in your financial plan. After all, this is what you will live off of for the rest of your life. So don’t worry, you can always put any money you have left over toward that college fund.
9. "I will keep working during retirement."
According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 69% of workers said they would still work after they retire. A delayed retirement is a trend that is now on the rise with people expecting to work until they reach the age of 70 instead of 65. But the reality is what if you can’t work anymore due to health problems or physical reasons? It’s better to plan for a worst-case scenario and save money in this situation.
10. "I’ll exhaust my assets before I die."
The term “I’m planning to die broke” is a common misconception. You want to make sure you have sufficient funds during your retirement that will last you through your life expectancy. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. If you outlive your assets it may become a financial struggle and burden to your family. You want to try to leave your loved ones with financial security, or at least none of your financial problems behind.