11/19/2012 8:15 PM ET|
7 moves new retirees will regret
The transition from the world of work involves some details you may not have fully considered. Don't let these possible missteps derail your plans.
It can be difficult to know when you are truly ready to retire. Even if you are relatively certain you have enough savings to last the rest of your life, there is still plenty that could go wrong. Here are some potential mistakes to avoid as you transition into retirement:
Moving to a place where you don't know anyone. Once you're no longer tied to a job, it's tempting to move to a location with better weather or more fun things to do. In some cases, you can even significantly reduce your retirement expenses by moving to a place with more affordable housing and a lower cost of living. But moving away from your friends and family and your support system of associates, including everything from a great dentist to a car mechanic you can trust, can be detrimental to your retirement. It's difficult to start from scratch and it can take years to build a network of people who can help when you need it.
Quitting before you are vested in your retirement plan. You may not get to keep all of your employer's 401k contributions, exercise stock options or qualify for traditional pension payouts until you are fully vested in the retirement plan. Before you turn in your letter of resignation, look up the exact date you will become fully vested in the plan. If it's a matter of weeks or months, sticking around until you qualify for more lucrative benefits could significantly improve your retirement finances. "If you are close to an anniversary date or if you have any stock options that are about to vest, you don't want to leave right before you are about to vest and lose out on money," says Laura Barnett Lion, a certified financial planner and the president of Barnett Financial in Austin, Texas.
Retiring before you set up health insurance. Medicare coverage begins when you turn 65. If you want to retire before then, you'll need to find alternative health insurance coverage. Some employers offer retiree health insurance plans to former employees. If your company had at least 20 employees, you can also buy back into your former employer's group health insurance plan using COBRA continuation coverage, typically for up to 18 months. Other health insurance options for early retirees include joining a spouse's health plan, purchasing individual insurance or seeing if you qualify for state insurance pools. Some organizations you belong to or part-time jobs may also provide health insurance. "If you are younger than 65 and you are retiring from a company plan, you want to pay special attention if you have any health issues," says Christopher Rhim, a certified financial planner for Green View Advisors in Washington, D.C. and Norwich, Vt. "Know what your benefits are and compare this to any new plan under consideration." Beginning in 2014, young retirees will be able to purchase health insurance through insurance exchanges, with tax credits for those with low and moderate incomes.
Thinking your health will hold out forever. Many new retirees are healthy and energetic, but it's important that they plan for a day when they may not be. Proximity to medical care becomes increasingly important as you age. You also need to think about the possibility that you might require long-term care or extra household help from caregivers or family members. It's a good idea to put your medical requests in writing and to designate someone to make medical decisions for you if you cannot.
Taking Social Security too soon. You can sign up for Social Security beginning at age 62, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should. If you elect to begin receiving payments at 62, you will receive lower monthly payments than you would if you waited. "If you are retiring before your full retirement age, which is 66 for most baby boomers, and you are planning on taking Social Security before 66 at a discount, that can have a substantial negative impact on your retirement finances," says Terry Seaton, a certified financial planner for Seaton Financial Advisors in St. Augustine, Fla. "You can wait even after 66 up to 70, and it increases each year." Monthly Social Security payouts grow for each month you delay claiming up until age 70.
Forgetting to take required minimum distributions. Withdrawals from 401k's and traditional individual retirement accounts become required at age 70 1/2. People who fail to withdraw the correct amount face a 50% tax penalty in addition to the regular income tax due on the amount that should have been withdrawn.
Spending too much on travel and new hobbies. Some expenses will decrease in retirement, such as commuting costs and workplace attire. But new costs may take their place or even surpass them. Travel can become a huge new retirement expense, and some new hobbies might also come with significant costs. Some retirees end up spending more on entertainment simply because they have more time for it. You may find yourself dining out more to get out of the house or connect with other people. "When you have time on your hands, most people are fairly creative in finding ways to spend money. They play more golf and they go see the grandkids more often," says Seaton. "Find out how you want to spend your time in retirement, and find out what it's going to cost you."
More from U.S. News & World Report:
- 7 ways to retire with $1 million
- 12 ways to increase your Social Security payments
- 6 ways the 'fiscal cliff' could affect seniors
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Do the math. The breakeven point on taking SS is 78 years old. If you start at 62 or 70 or anywhere in-between you draw the same amount at 78. Granted, if you start at 62 and live passed 78 you will lose money every month but will you live passed 78? I did not add in taxes on your money you draw from your 401K to cover the SS you did not draw or the fact that only 80% of SS income is taxed.
I see charts on how much you will lose if you live to 95 but how many will live to 95.
When someone tells you what age you should take your SS, ask them how long you will live or how long you will be able to go and enjoy life. Then you decide what is best for you.
These retirement scenario articles are always short on common sense, and lacking mathematical realities.
Most people either never live long enough to collect SS, or they die shortly after attaining full-retirement age.
If you can, retire at 62-years and then, live as long as you can, as well as you can.
Miss Brandon.....why in the world would we believe anything that you write or say.....you cannot be much more than 25 years old???? You clearly are not an expert and your arcticle might be best in one of the 'tabloids'.
You giving us advice??????????????????
I retired and took SS even though I just put the money in the bank. If you have other retirement income you are gambling that you will be able to get the full promised SS at age 70. Paradoxically the people who need the money now are the only ones who can risk waiting until 66 or 70 to collect as everyone else could face cuts or higher taxes on the future SS. The top 1 or 2% targeted taxpayers are only the start; the top 50% will eventually be targeted for higher taxes and SS cuts of some form simply because the bottom 50% are becoming the voting majority and want more benefits..
Im only 33 but what if I dont live till age 70? or what if I am in failing health? I would like to enjoy my retirement years before I lose mobility. I mean I would like to enjoy the money instead of fighting those extra years for the increase. Whats the mortality rate in the US. I dont want to enjoy a nice car and debt free living at 70 something!
Proper planning dictates that at the point of retirement, your house should have been paid off so your only bills are you utilities, groceries, and little extras like cable besides property taxes...and even so If one is smart (and dont have any grown kids living at home-which you shouldnt) you would have planned a much smaller home where the property taxes are miniumal/ (condo??) before retirement that is already paid off.
I plan on keeping my condo and paying it off in 15 years. If I get lucky and make some change on it by selling I will only buy a slightly larger (one/two bedroom condo) where my mortgage is minimal and it will be paid off well before retirement. I mean that is your biggest cost besides healthcare.
"Monthly Social Security payouts grow for each month you delay claiming up until age 70."
Yes. And should you die on your actuarial table's date of death, you will have received exactly the same amount of Social Security payout regardless of when you began your claim.
The only good reason to delay receiving your Social Security annuity is if longevity runs in your family, especially if there is no family history of certain diseases such as Type I diabetes, heart disease, stroke, et al. In such a case, if the Social Security annuity is not needed more immediately, delaying the annuity payouts can make sense -- perhaps very good sense.
On the other hand, if family (and your own) medical history suggests a normal ("annuity table") lifespan is likely, taking the Social Security annuity as early as possible makes better sense. Even if the money is not needed, it won't damage your credit union (or brokerage) account to sequester it in one of them.
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