This May we are celebrating Older Americans Month and the 2018 theme of Engage at Every Age teaches us that age is not a factor when it comes to taking part in activities to enrich one’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being. One activity that is key for promoting mental and physical wellness is saving and planning ahead for retirement.
New data from our America’s Workforce study found that the greatest barrier to retirement savings for Americans is not saving earlier (40 percent). In turn working more and working longer has becomes today’s reality for America’s workforce, with 3 in 5 very likely to work longer than they’d like to meet their personal retirement goals. Additionally, on average, Americans expect to push back their retirement by 2 years.
With these stats in mind, it is important to remember Americans have the power to shape tomorrow’s retirement at any age. No matter if they are just starting out in their career or are planning to retire in a couple months, there are things all Americans can control when it comes to saving for retirement, and simple mistake they can and should avoid.
Here are 3 simple mistakes Americans make when saving for retirement and how to avoid them:
1. Underestimating medical expenses.
When you’re healthy, it’s difficult to imagine spending a lot of money on medical expenses. However, as you get older, it’s nearly inevitable that your medical expenses will grow and while your money will no longer be flowing in through a consistent salary, it will be important to set aside money for healthcare expenses. In fact, the average 65-year-old couple will pay $240,000—that’s right $240,000!—in out-of-pocket costs for healthcare during retirement, according to Fidelity Investments – and that number does not include potential long-term care costs. It’s important to consider retirement products that can ensure lifetime income so you can be prepared for unexpected medical costs.
2. Waiting too long to start.
Right now, the number of Americans who have student loan debt in some form has risen to more than 40 million, according to CNN. And while it’s easy to convince yourself you can put off saving for retirement until your debt is paid off, experts note that the most important asset you have when saving for retirement is time. Every six years you wait to get started doubles the required monthly savings you’ll need to reach the same level of retirement income – so it’s important to start saving early, even if you can’t save as much as you’d like. Every little bit counts.
3. Lack of diversity.
In order to ensure that your golden years can be spent enjoying traveling and time with friends and family, it’s important to diversify your portfolio and not to rely solely on one form of retirement income, such as a 401(k) or Social Security. In fact, The U.S. Department of Labor notes that diversity is important when it comes to retirement savings because it can actually help to reduce risk and improve return. Assessing your investment mix at different stages in your life is key – when you are young, a higher-risk investment strategy may be more effective, whereas the closer you are to retirement, the more important a low-risk portfolio may be, with more conservative products such as Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIAs).