None of us gets through life without a few regrets. When it comes to money, the mistakes we make when saving for retirement are especially likely to cause us remorse.
Recently, the Insured Retirement Institute asked nearly 1,000 employed Americans, ages 40 to 73, about their regrets while preparing for retirement. In particular, the institute wanted to know which things these workers wished they had done differently.
Following are the missed opportunities that haunt the survey respondents. If you are still saving for retirement, use this list to make sure you do not repeat these common errors.
7. Planned to retire later
A very small percentage of respondents — just 2% — wished they had planned for a later retirement date. The number is surprisingly low, given that working longer is one of the best ways to shore up your finances so you are ready for a long, rewarding retirement.
However, it is telling that among the oldest group of survey respondents — ages 67 to 73 — the percentage of those who wished they had planned to retire later jumps to 10%.
The lesson? As you age, it is more likely that you will regret not having earned and saved more.
6. Invested more conservatively
Saving for retirement can be tricky. The key is taking enough risk to grow your money without taking so much risk that you end up with less than you need should the stock market take a tumble.
Among survey respondents, 4% wished they had invested more conservatively. That suggests that a small percentage of workers went out on a limb and paid a price that has left them with deep regrets.
5. Invested more aggressively
Taking too much risk burns some investors. But others pay a heavy price for playing it too safe, with 19% of respondents wishing they had invested more aggressively.
It is revealing that the percentage of those who wished they had been less cautious is nearly five times the percentage of those who wished they had stuffed more money under the mattress.
For more tips, check out Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s podcast “How to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement.”
4. Learned more about financial products
Most of us love having money. But we are much less enthused about putting in the work to educate ourselves about the best ways to get more cash.
Survey respondents said they regret their lack of willingness to learn more about the financial opportunities available to them, with 20% of respondents wishing they had taken the time to learn more about financial products.
3. Consulted a financial adviser
A great financial adviser can make the difference between a robust retirement and just getting by. The survey respondents seem to grasp this idea, with 22% saying they wished they had sought the guidance of a financial professional.
If you are looking for help, stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center and find a great financial adviser.
2. Saved more
Most of us struggle to save. Wants, needs or — more commonly — a combination of both keep money out of our wallets and in someone else’s hands.
But we pay a high price for our spendthrift ways, and a huge percentage of survey respondents — 65% — wished they had saved more for retirement.
Fortunately, it’s rarely too late to start saving more. For tips, check out “6 Ways to Heap Up Savings Before You Retire.”
1. Started saving earlier
The earlier you start saving, the easier it is to build a huge nest egg. That is due to the power of compounding, which can make your savings grow by leaps and bounds if you give it enough time.
Unfortunately, the longer you wait to save, the more difficult the job becomes. Survey respondents appear to have learned this lesson the hard way, with 67% saying they wished they had started saving earlier.
To avoid making the same mistake, and many others, learn more about compound interest and other crucial concepts in “14 Money Terms to Learn So You Don’t Die Broke.”
How to save enough for retirement
If any of the regrets on this list resonate with you, take action now. The sooner you get your savings efforts on track, the more successful they are likely to be.
One way to unlock the secrets to building a secure retirement is to sign up for the Money Talks News retirement course, The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need.
This 14-week boot camp is intended for those who are 45 or older, and it can teach you everything from Social Security secrets to how to time your retirement.