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3 Ways To Ruin Your Dream Retirement

Question: Bill, I love your blog posts and always find a good idea each week. Tell me, what would you say are the biggest mistakes people make with their retirement? --Lori, RI

Answer: Lori, thanks for the positive feedback! I appreciate it. Here are the three biggies.

Mistake #1: Retiring when what you really needed was a break. All too often I see people in their fifties and sixties who retire or take an early incentive offer because they think they’re ready to stop working. After a few months or a few years they find themselves bored and restless and wanting to work again. Unfortunately by then many of their business connections may have vanished or the economy turned sour and they can’t find meaningful work. Before you decide to retire fully, discuss a phased retirement or flexible work schedule with your employer. Explore all of your options before retiring.

Mistake #2: Spending your retirement money too quickly. Monitoring how much money you take out of your portfolio each year is crucial to you not outliving your money. 4% is the magic number that you could take out of your saving each year ($4,000 for every hundred thousand you have invested) and put yourself in a position for your money to last 30 years. Take out more than that and you could run out of money before three decades are up. Retire in a bear market and take money out when your portfolio is going down and you could run out of money in less than 15 years. Retire in a bull market and your money could last forever.

Mistake #3: Not paying attention to your investments. Most people have no idea what they’re invested in, what they can expect to earn, and how much risk they’re taking with their portfolio. This can all be quantified. Do you know how much risk you’re taking? What's your asset allocation?

Bill’s Bottom Line: As a courtesy to my CNBC readers, you can download my popular FREE 30-page report, The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Retiring & How YOU Can Avoid Them by clicking here.

Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is the resident retirement planning expert on CNBC’s “On the Money”. He has been named one of America’s Top Financial Planners and is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional. He also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. Bill can be reached online at www.MyRetirementSuccess.com.