Avoid These 7 Big Regrets People Have in Retirement
Even happy, successful retirees can experience some turbulence as they transition into the second half of their lives. I hope that folks who are preparing for or just starting retirement can learn from some of the most common regrets that retirees have talked to me about so that your journey into retirement can be a little bit smoother.
1. Failing to plan ahead for retirement.
In my book, Keen on Retirement: Engineering The Second Half Of Your Life, I compare retirement to a home blueprint. And just like you can't throw up a solid house in one day, your retirement needs to build on top of a solid foundation of planning and preparation. If you plan for retirement at least 3-5 years before you actually retire, you'll have time to fill out the rest of that blueprint. And if life happens and you have to retire ahead of or behind schedule, you'll still have something solid under your feet while you and your advisor plan to pivot.
2. Not seeking professional help.
On two recent podcasts, my co-hosts and I discussed how the SECURE Act 2.0 is affecting retirement planning. Late last year we talked about changes to Social Security and Medicare benefits. And that's just tracking five or six months of rule changes!
Financial planning is not a one-and-done process. In order to realize their dream retirement scenarios, I believe the vast majority of folks could see a benefit working with a pro who can keep the evolving details and strategies in sync with personal financial goals. I'm proud that so many of our clients consider our services not an expense, but an investment in the future.
3. Not having both spouses actively involved in retirement conversations.
Although it's not as common as it used to be, many couples still leave the household finances to one person. Then retirement rolls around, and it turns out that each person has very different ideas about what their golden years should look like. Or, worse, the "finance spouse" passes, and the surviving spouse is left alone with a plan he or she doesn't understand.
To avoid these kinds of scenarios, we encourage the couples we work with at Keen Wealth to attend our annual meetings together and be active, equal participants in the planning process.
4. Retiring "from" something instead of retiring "to" something.
Not everyone loves their job. But that's rarely a good reason to stop working, especially if you're still able bodied. Successful retirement is an ART that balances Activities, Relationships, and Time in fulfilling ways. If you aren't ready to start practicing your ART full time, then it might be worth exploring other options, such as a career change.
5. Losing social connections.
Many new retirees feel a profound loss of identity and connection when they're no longer working actively in their field of expertise, and when they're no longer spending their weeks with familiar friends and colleagues. Single seniors in particular need to make an extra effort to stay connected to other people, whether that means putting more energy into existing friendships and family relationships, or making new connections as they travel, enjoy leisure activities, or volunteer.
Married couples don't have it any easier. "Gray divorce" rates among boomers have been on the rise, in part because seniors aren't prepared for the effects that retirement can have on a marriage. Couples should discuss -- and, again, plan for -- what they want their lives to be like in retirement. Often, that starts with having schedules that balance shared activities with alone time so each person can pursue personal interests as well.
6. Not having an estate plan.
What happens if you don't have estate plan at the time of your death?
Then your "other" estate plan kicks in: your state of residence settles your estate in the courts. Depending the size of your estate and your family dynamics, this can be a very messy and very public process that won't fulfill your last wishes.
So, please, stop putting off estate planning essentials and work with your advisor and your attorney to get those wishes on paper. At the minimum, everyone should have:
• Last Will and Testament, which outlines your last wishes and explains how you want your estate to be distributed.
• Power of Attorney that authorizes someone you trust to act on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated.
• Healthcare Directive dictating how you would like to be cared for in the event that you become incapacitated.
• A Living Will designating a person to be in charge of making important medical choices on your behalf if you are unable to.
7. Not living life to the fullest because you don't want to run out of money.
After a lifetime of working, saving, and investing, it can be difficult for some seniors to switch to a "reward" mentality and start enjoying their wealth. The comprehensive financial plans that we design at Keen Wealth can provide the extra peace of mind you need to live your best life and start tackling that bucket list.
What retirement challenges are you anticipating, or coping with as a new retiree? Call up Keen Wealth and let’s meet to discuss how my team can help.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
KWMG, LLC’s dba Keen Wealth Advisors (“company”) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Overland Park, KS. The company and its representatives may only conduct business in those states where registered or where excluded/exempt or from licensure. For registration information please contact the SEC or the state securities regulators for the states where the company is notice filed. A copy of the company ADV is available upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where the company and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by the company unless a client service agreement is in place. This information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy and is for illustrative purposes only. Clients and prospective clients must consider all relevant risk factors involved with each strategy, including costs or fees, and their own personal financial situations before trading.
The views outlined in the book, Keen on Retirement Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, are those of the author and should not be construed as individualized or personalized investment advice. Any economic and/or performance information cited is historical and not indicative of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.
The Amazon Best Seller ranking listed on marketing materials is specifically referring to Best Seller rankings for the Kindle Top 100 Paid Lists under the subcategories of: Budgeting and Financial Risk Management, based on data as of September 5, 2019 and the second edition under Financial Risk Management on October 26, 2022. Amazon rankings although relevant on how a product is selling overall doesn’t necessarily indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items or similar item categories. Amazon may choose the most popular categories or subcategories within which an item has a high ranking to determine its best seller rankings. These rankings are updated hourly and as a result, should be expected to fluctuate as such. Keen Wealth Advisors and Amazon are not affiliated entities.
The Steve Sanduski Advisor Network, Belay Advisor, LLC and other third-party contributors to our blogs and podcasts are not affiliated with Keen Wealth Advisors.
For additional details on Keen Wealth Advisors, please visit https://www.keenwealthadvisors.com/important-disclosures.