"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."
- Oscar Wilde
We've all been there - bad haircuts, poor fashion choices, regretful hookups. For the most part, we've put these poor decisions behind us, even if Facebook continuously reminds us of these "memories".
Some decisions are more important than others. When it comes to planning for retirement, the earlier you start, the better off you will be. Time is of the essence and you don't really get a second chance once you hit retirement.
Here are some retirement planning mistakes to avoid:
1. Not having a plan
The sad reality is that we probably spend more time planning our next vacation than planning how we will live (and pay for) the last three decades of our lives. Figure out, reasonably and roughly, the cost of your desired lifestyle in today's money. Write it down. This is a good place to start.
2. Not starting early
Life gets in the way - you have a mortgage, kids' education, bucket list holidays to pay for. We get it. We're not telling you to cut down on spending. But you should implement your investment plan so that you benefit from your most valuable and finite asset of all - time. It's no surprise that 66% of retirees in Singapore wished they had started planning for retirement earlier. Don't play catch up - start early and let time be on your side.
3. Not investing intelligently
Investing poorly will do you more harm than good, and probably make some brokers and salespeople happy along the way. Diversify, keep your costs low, and be mindful of the level of risk you are taking. Though markets have historically rewarded investors who have stayed invested over the long-term, we are our own worst enemy. If you invest more aggressively and at a level or risk that is more than you can stomach, you will struggle to stay invested when markets inevitably turn against you, and most likely end up buying high and selling low. Hoarding cash is also a poor idea as inflation will slowly but surely eat away at your wealth. A Blackrock survey concluded that Singaporeans rely too heavily on cash in their investment portfolios, which creates a significant gap between current holdings and financial goals.
Form a long-term investment plan with an asset allocation that is appropriate for your risk tolerance, review it regularly and keep track of your progress towards reaching your goal. If this all sounds too overwhelming, find a financial advisor that can help.
You want to be sailing off into the sunset or hitting birdies at the golf course in the last decades of your life, not struggling to pay your bills and worrying about outliving your retirement savings.
Future-proof your quality of life with early retirement planning.