7 mistakes retirees keep making

Following your heart instead of your head and seeking safety when things get scary are understandable, but they can lead to big trouble. Recognize any of these other errors?

By Dave Carpenter, The Associated Press

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23Comments
Mar 5, 2012 9:47PM
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Most of us won't retire until we are lying in our graves.
Mar 6, 2012 1:17PM
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it took me several   years to prepare for retirement, and it wasnt easy. First i worked on paying off my credit cards which i had many..It was over whelming but i knew i had too..I listened to david ramsey and he gave me inspiration to do it.. then i paid off my car. and of course then i started on working on my house doubling on my house payments of course i lived in a modest house so my house payments wernt very high and i diidnt owe that much so it was soon paid off... and fo course i have also been working on my house getting it energy effecient in the mean time..do it a little at a time..and all the work my self ..and saved as much as i could....i really planned on working longer..but my back wouldnt let me...so i had to retire when i did..but at least i had  all my time in for my pension....M problem  is government...be it local , state and federal...but mainly local.....with all there dang fees on top of fees..always trying to get there hands in your pockets and bank accounts one way or the other......and now rising utilities...and   rising gas....and people want us to invest in stocks?...with all those investment sharks just aching to steal your money with all those hidden fees ..you really cant trust anyone....it would be different if i was younger and still had the stamina to work more and had more time to make more money to invest..but i dont..the money i do have to finite..once its gone..its gone..and i have a feeling our nation is soon going to be in another war and i  dont believe its going to be an easy one on the american people either..economy wise..Im no expert like some of these so called  economic advisors...but  heres a little advice from an old retired person..Save all the money you can..either buy gold or silver..or just stash it in a safe at home. /get you one of these new small gas saving cars...I  buy strickly american..{help America out for a change}..Pay all your  debts off..stock up foods that will keep unrefrigerated..and live with in your means..and also get home protection for your family..and after all of this...than you can invest in the stock market  and play..

Mar 6, 2012 7:04AM
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Keep a budget!  At least for a year so you can better appreciate where your money goes.

In my experience, people don't have a clue how they spend their money.  They may go to McDonald's twice a week for lunch and not realize it costs them $500 more per year than eating at home.  I have a relative that can't make it out of a 7-11, Lowes, etc. without buying a $1+ soda, preferably at least 20 oz.  He has no clue how that adds up compared with keeping cans, preferably 12 oz, of soft drinks in his car that cost 20-30 cents when bought at Costco, etc.
 
Personally, it didn't hit home to me how those little things add up until I began keeping a budget while I was still working, writing down every penny of spending and dividing it into categories.  It not only showed me where I was spending too much, it showed me how much I'd need in retirement to maintain my lifestyle.

Now, I don't keep one all the time, but I do so whenever I notice or expect a change in spending habits due to a new project or a new income stream kicking-in.  A great, free, personal budget spreadsheet for Excel with categories, which I use, is the first one listed here: http://christianpf.com/10-free-household-budget-spreadsheets​/  and if you don't have Excel, there's a free spreadsheet program at openoffice.org

Mar 6, 2012 12:32AM
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You must be careful of government thieving from your retirement also. Because I had a army pension the government took a third of my senior citizens pension. How can you even begin to win with government sanctioned thieving like this?!!!!!
Mar 5, 2012 11:08PM
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My wife and I have a great health care plan so far.  We pray we won't get sick.
Mar 6, 2012 6:36PM
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The absolute worst mistake is to let children and grandchildren mooch off you.  My parents had ample retirement savings until my sister ran up fraudulent credit cards and had to either be bailed out or sent to jail.  It took everything my dad had to keep her out of jail but he did it.   Then she declared bankruptcy and got a judge to declare she doesn't have to repay the money.  Now her kids are draining away the Social Security pittance they get.  No matter what financial plans their other kids make and safeguards we put in place, it doesn't do any good if grandma just can't stop herself from going on shopping sprees every time the teenage granddaughter comes over crying that she has to have a gym membership or DIE.  JUST SAY NO!!!!
Mar 5, 2012 10:14PM
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Everything in this article is pretty much true. Health care is the big money drain. Dental is not covered by medicare. Depending on how you treated your body over your working years pretty much dictates how long you will have quality of life in retirement. Alcohol, cigarettes, overwork work, stress and drug abuse(legal & illegal) dictate how long you will last.  The body was only ment to last a certain amount of time and then it falls apart. The surgeons are really good, the paramedics are well trained and the hospital nurses are beautiful or handsome.  The visit is temporary, the cost is outrages and the helicopter is the fasted way to the hospital.
Mar 6, 2012 6:12PM
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Sure...Invest my retirement savings in the stock market and kiss it good by, while the ones managing the accounts are getting $2,000,000 bonus checks.
Mar 6, 2012 3:16PM
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DonEdefender is exactly right. when my financial advisor told me i was being to conservative with my money, I didn't know what to say except if i would have buried it in the back yard I would still have all my money instead of  just 1/2 of it.  These fat cat financial EXPERTS  know how to work it so my money...... ends up in their pocket. I wish I would have listened to my dad. I could have retired with the money i HAD. But not now.
Mar 6, 2012 7:20PM
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I am retired and I helped my children financially before I retired.  It is now my turn to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  No one handed me anything, I worked for it and was very successful.

The generation of today is I am entitled to it.  They need everything NOW.  They need the nice home, the nice car.

I live in a very well to do area, the children drive Lexus, BMW, Audi's to school.  Whatever happened to walking? Then parents wonder why their kids are fat

Parent's are afraid to say NO.  Let a child figure out how to get out of a problem, stop doing it for them.  Otherwise they will never stand on their own two feet.

That is why this Country is in the shape it is now.
Mar 6, 2012 3:55PM
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Crying Tree-- "the hospital nurses are beautiful or handsome"??????  As a nurse I have worked my butt off getting my degree and passing national boards, training after graduation, staying on top of current research and protocols for the best patient outcomes, and giving good care as an advocate for my patients. Yes, you need to take care of your body and not poison it or stop moving it. But don't belittle a profession as thankless as nursing by implying we are just a batch of pretty faces running around in scrubs. I guarantee you the last thing I am thinking about before I help you clean up after going to the bathroom, stop your MD from prescribing you a drug that conflicts with your allergy because I know your history better than he does, or plunge a needle into your arm at the precise angle needed to get IV access, is how my mascara and lipstick are looking. In fact, chances are I look like hell and smell even worse because I have not time to even pee much less look in a mirror in the 12 hours I have been running my tush off to keep up with taking care of my patients. We give up time with our families and work around the clock  to keep you alive when you need us, whether it is from bad lifestyle choices or just plain bad luck. Please think before you type.
Mar 6, 2012 6:20PM
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Mr. Carpenter must get a kickback from Wall Street.  We've all heard the horror stories about retirees or near-retirees losing a huge chunk of their 401 Ks because of the volitility of the stock market, yet he wants 70 year old to invest 40-50% of their portfolio in stocks!
Mar 6, 2012 5:19PM
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Plan a little. Save a little. Think a little.

Most people just don't think until they are there. Too soon old, and too late smart.

Mar 6, 2012 6:42PM
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ak rn

you nurses are what makes a job a real reason

what you do is what truly matters my hat is off to all of you

just wish you got paid more you earn it every day

 

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AMEN (that is, so be it!) .   Have you ever seen a poor financial planner, huh?   I don't think SO.  The scenario  of  the 80+ age bears some byword in that we have back sight values buried deeply in us that few ever consider.   That was an era of deep and lasting impression whereby values were so instilled that they have remained with  most of us forevermore.    Roosevelt  gave way to the theory of Keynesian Economics (as most of the rest of nations) which deleted the gold-backed standard for our currency (but calling all gold into the coffers of the government - which further localizes central power and the reduction of human stance).  What is it that supports the fiat today? -- only the pain in your feet, the ache of your back, the sweat of your brow and, yes, the blood of your veins. For every dollar worth of goods earned in 1933  it requires, in today's fiat, $17.30 (per AIER).    The path of the lambs is slaughter.   .

Mar 6, 2012 8:42PM
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Been retired 12 years.  Lost all 401's due to Stock Market crap.  Believe the only ones that make money in the stock market are the runs running it.  I would dig a hole and put money in it and bury it before I would ever trust the stock market.  A bunch of crooks!
Mar 6, 2012 8:32PM
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The "change your residency to Florida" thing is a huge lie.  We live in Maryland.  Maryland does NOT care that Florida, or any other state, lets you say you're a resident just because you bought a tacky condo there and spend a few weeks/months a year there.  In Maryland, and probably many other states, you MUST fulfill several requirements before you can declare residency somewhere else. You MUST prove: 1)  that you moved the bulk of your household goods to the new state. PROVE IT.  2) you must register all of your vehicles in the new state 3) you must register to vote in the new state 4) you must establish banking in the new state and 5) you must live in the new state for more than 6 months in a calendar year.   Our CPA is a specialist in foreign/out of state income and he himself moved out of Maryland once, to Texas.  Maryland tracked him down and had him in the cross hairs immediately and demanded proof of all of those requirements.  We have friends who own a home here, never changed their car registrations, and only go to the Florida condo for a very few months. They think they're going to avoid MD taxes on a big foreign earned income....they are going to be in for a monstrous shock.  
Mar 11, 2012 11:07PM
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Many of you complain that you lost money etc, but have you really analyzed why you "lost" money?  the reality is that most people don't know how to invest and often lose money because they invest on emotions, rather than logic.  Just because you can buy a stock for $8 doesn't mean you know when to buy it or sell it.  Trying to time the market is dangerous and doing so on emotions is a recipe for financial disaster ala the whiners on this posts..
Mar 6, 2012 7:37PM
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As a tottering old 68 I have doubled my income and net worth in the five years since I retired. All without the aid of any Financial planners. We elders are no different than the younger folks, some are able to take care of themselves and make intelligent decisions and some aren't. How do you think we got in this past and continuing recession, from stupid seniors borrowing money they couldn't pay back? Not.
Mar 6, 2012 8:55PM
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Be sure to thank Ben Bernanke for making sure we don't get any interest income for 6 years.  If you could get  the normal 4 to 5% in the money market before he turned the hammer, you'd have income coming in from your savings plus could logically think about if you wanted to put some of that savings into risker dividend stocks, rather than be pushed that way. 
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