7 Retirement -Ready Mistakes Many 60-Year-Olds Make

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    You’ve entered your sixth decade and are fast approaching the day when you turn in your notice with your employer and then saunter off into your golden years.

    While you’ve been disciplined in most regards and feel confident you’re on a good glide path, you have to be careful of issues that can arise for people in your same shoes – the kind that can trip you up and cost you dearly in retirement.


    You ever find yourself walking around and all seems good, then boom. Suddenly you trip and have to catch yourself? And your immediate reaction is to look down and around to see what happened…what caused you to trip. Obviously someone or some thing did that to you…you couldn’t possibly have tripped on your own.

    Is that not embarrassing? And let’s be honest, when you’re looking around to see what happened, part of what you’re doing is looking to see if anyone saw you trip.

    How embarrassing!

    We’ve all been there…

    Well, the same thing can happen when we are nearing retirement. Working away, now in our 60s and acting diligently to take the right steps to ensure we soon get the most of our retirement. And boom, we get tripped up.

    But unlike when tripping on the sidewalk, getting tripped up as you prepare for retirement can carry with it much more serious consequences. While some things can never be anticipated, there are common mistakes you can make yourself aware of in order to avoid.

    Today we examine 7 of the biggest retirement-ready mistakes many 60 and older make.

    Retiring too soon

    By the time we reach our 60s. most people are looking forward to retirement. Honestly, many are counting the days.

    Who can blame you? When you reach that point you’ve probably been working for four decades, if not longer. Time to turn the page and move on to the rest of your life.

    Sadly, for many doing so at 60, or even in the next five to 10 years thereafter, doing so may be too early and can be a mistake.

    According to Clever Real Estate’s retirement preparedness survey (State of Retirement Finances: 2023 Edition), just under half of American’s believe they will outlive their assets, and 37-percent have no retirement savings at all.

    Here’s the deal. The longer you work reduces the number of years you’ll have to pay yourself in replacing that paycheck you’re used to getting every month.

    Even delaying two to three years can make a huge difference, especially when you consider you don’t have to tap your retirement saving during that period, which allows your savings to continue to compound and grow.

    Even if you want to move on, working for yourself or taking on a part-time job might be good options. Not only can you continue to pay some portion of your monthly bills, but doing so can keep you active and engaged, which is good for your mental and physical health.

    Whatever your decision on when to retire, you definitely want to look at your finances and make a decision based on what makes most sense versus arbitrarily picking a particular age or date.

    You get too conservative

    It’s common for people who are approaching or in retirement to believe it’s time to put on the brakes, full stop, when it comes to remaining invested in stocks and other growth instruments in their portfolio.

    That’s understandable, given they don’t have a long time-horizon left if the market were to seriously correct. So, out of an abundance of caution, they go totally conservative, believing that will eliminate risk to their portfolio and overall savings.

    Unfortunately, that is short sided, as it can actually expose you to more risk.

    In the modern age, chances are you will live more than a few years in retirement. You could last 20 to 30 years, in which case you are probably going to need to remain invested and will need to rely on stocks and other growth instruments to help continue to grow your savings.

    Keep in mind that taxes and inflation remain real issues in retirement, which you will have to stay in front of in order to survive financially.

    Now that doesn’t mean investing in the same manner as you did in your accumulation years, but it does mean you have to find the right allocation that provides safety as well as growth potential. Doing so might best serve you over a potentially long period of time.

    Many people start to incorporate blue-chip dividend stocks as a part of their portfolio, as they tend to provide income, are relatively safer compared to growth stocks, and still offer potential price appreciation.

    There’s other strategies as well, such as using annuities to provide income you can’t outlive, real estate that can appreciate in price and potentially provide income, and more.

    Forget about paying Uncle Sam

    Taxes and death…life’s only certainties. There is truth to that old maxim. When it comes to taxes, they don’t stop in retirement.

    In fact, they can become more of an issue. If you are like many people, you took advantage of IRAs, employer-sponsored 401(K)s and other qualified plans in order to create and grow your retirement savings over many years – taking advantage of compounding interest, which over a long period can really accelerate growth in your savings.

    Once you retire and start living off those savings you will have to take distributions, which will be taxed as ordinary income. As such, you’ll have to start thinking about taxes in retirement well in advance of retiring.

    There’s also the Required Minimum Distributions (RMD), which requires you start taking distributions from your qualified accounts once you reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022). That amount increases each year, and if you fail to take the distribution you can be looking at a 50-percent penalty for the amount not taken as a distribution, in addition to the taxes owed.

    When it comes to takes, you definitely want to consult with a professional, as a good retirement planner with tax expertise can minimize the taxes you might owe, even potentially saving you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement.

    Not educating yourself about Social Security

    Social Security is a government benefit that most people know little about, beyond the fact they are eligible at some point.

    The mistake many make with their Social Security benefit is deciding to take it when they first become eligible at age 62. If you started when eligible at age 62, you’d be looking at an approximate 30-percentage discount in what you receive monthly for the remainder of your life.

    To provide perspective, the average social security benefit for the typical individual in 2023 is $1,782 per month, according to the Social Security Administration. If you started when eligible at age 62, you’d be looking at a discounted amount of $1,247 monthly. And that’s for your lifetime.

    If instead you wait to start drawing the benefit until you reach full retirement age (age 67 if you were born in 1960 or later) you’ll receive your full benefit. Were you able to hold off on taking the benefit till age 70, the benefit would actually increase to $2,210 monthly for life.

    That’s nearly a difference of a thousand dollar each month for the rest of your life by waiting to age 70 versus 62. While that may not be possible, or even prudent given your personal circumstances, you want to know what your options are going into retirement.

    Remaining in the dark regarding Medicare

    While many people are in the dark when it comes to Social Security, Medicare is even more of a mystery for those in their sixth decade.

    Medicare is another government program meant to assist people as they enter the latter part of their life. You’ll become eligible for the health insurance program once you turn 65.

    That’s the easy part.

    What you need to know is the fact there are options – original Medicare and Medicare Advantage or MA. And you need to recognize there are differences between the two that can have a big effect on your healthcare and finances in retirement.

    Original Medicare is the program that has been offered for decades through the federal government. It includes Part A, which is hospital insurance covering things like inpatient, nursing facility, hospice and home care.

    There there’s Part B, which is medical insurance covering things like doctor visits and services from other health care providers, certain types of home health care, outpatient treatments and care, preventative services and programs (e.g., shots, wellness visits, screenings), and medical equipment, such as hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.

    While most people are used to having individual or employer-sponsored health insurance that includes a prescription plan, Medicare doesn’t do so. As such, you must purchase a Part D plan separately to have prescription drug coverage (both generic and brand-name prescriptions) or buy your own prescription plan through a private company or network.

    Keep in mind that there are still costs associated with Part A, B and D coverage, including co-pays, coinsurance, your premiums, deductibles, and more.

    There is the option to purchase Medigap (a form of privately administered insurance from a carrier approved by Medicare) to supplement your original Medicare coverage. It will help pay for costs not covered by Medicare and that you would have to pay out-of-pocket.

    Then there’s Medicare Advantage plans, which are a type of plan approved by Medicare that are provided by private insurers that offer Part A and Part B coverage, much like original Medicare, and often Part D prescription coverage, all wrapped into one plan.

    Keep in mind that most MAs come with other benefits, such as vision and dental coverage, as well as perks like gym memberships and other goodies.

    Whatever route you go, this is an important decision that can have huge implications on your health and your wallet.

    Don’t consider LTC

    When it comes to retirement, one of the areas people tend to make one of their biggest mistakes is that of failing to plan and pay for their long-term care needs.

    According to the Kaiser Family Foundation or KFF, 70-percent of people aged 65 and older will require LTC at some point. This can include home health care to living in a facility of some type, such as assisted-living, traditional nursing home, skilled nursing  (much like the level of care in a hospital), and end-of-life hospice.

    As you can imagine, none of this is cheap. The longer you wait to purchase a LTC plan, the more they will cost you with each passing year.

    The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) estimates that a 55-year-old male will pay an annual premium of $950 for a level-health (value of policy never increases) $165,000 policy. The same policy for a female will cost an average of $1,500, and for a 55-year-old couple the combined cost is just over $2k. If you wait to purchase any of those same policies until age 65, those costs nearly double.

    If you don’t have an LTC policy, the AALTCI estimates your annual out-of-pocket cost on long-term care could range from $20k to $100k, depending on the type of care needed.

    Bottom line, failing to plan and pay for LTC coverage can devastate most families financially. And you want to avoid the mistake of waiting to address this all-important issue, as the longer you wait the increased price to do so will cost you dearly.

    Not having a plan

    Well, we saved the biggest mistake of all for last – not having a retirement plan.

    Simply walking in and turning in your notice one day when you desire to “hang em up,” is a recipe for disaster. Beyond what’s listed above, you need to think about an endless list of additional issues.

    Here’s but a few:

    • Create a retirement budget so you’ll know what you have available and what can be spent
    • Passing on assets to your spouse, children and other loved ones, as well as charities or causes that you care about
    • What about travel and enjoying yourself in your sunset years? Unless you have unlimited resources, you probably are going to need to know how much you have to do so with
    • Will and last testament
    • Final plans for when you pass (e.g., burial plans)
    • Much more

    We could go on and on.

    You know you have to have a plan. You plan all the time – even each day  for simple things, such as taking an umbrella because the forecast calls for rain, dinner, getting your oil changed and tires filled before the upcoming road trip, paying the bills currently due, etc.

    Forget about a single day – now you’re talking about the rest of your life…you have to have a retirement plan!!

    And, as an added gut-punch, even if you’ve planned, you might have to rethink plans you’ve made previously.


    As you’ve probably already surmised from the aforementioned mistakes, there are a plethora of considerations when it comes to retirement. The last thing you want to do is get tripped up before you enter your golden years of retirement.

    By making yourself aware of big issues, such as Social Security, Taxes and LTC, you can do yourself a big favor when it comes to avoiding disaster and ensuring your retirement goes as smooth as possible.

    To deal with all of those things and many other important issues, you will need a comprehensive plan that acts as a pathway for living both prior to and after you retire.

    Whatever your age, you need to get a plan in place if you don’t already have one. Even if you created one on your own in the past, or worked with a professional to complete one, now that you are close to retiring you should have it reviewed to ensure you are set and prepared for lies ahead.

    Here at Oak Harvest we can assist you with this. We can review your existing plan or help you create one that meets all your needs. We can assist by building a holistic, comprehensive retirement plan addressing relevant issues, utilizing strategies that cover taxes, income, spending, healthcare, LTC, legacy, and more, customized to your family’s specific scenario.

    A plan created with the goal of ensuring you have the best opportunity of living out the retirement you and your family envision.

    If you are ready to take the next step and talk to a team of retirement planners who can advise on all your retirement needs, and who will put your interests first, Schedule a call today!

    Let Us Help You Achieve the Retirement You Deserve!

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