In many facets of life, experience is the best instructor. So, MoneyTips asked retirees for advice to give to people planning their future retirement.
In an exclusive MoneyTips online survey, we asked 258 retirees:
From the choices provided them, the most popular answer was "Start planning today" (36.8%), followed by "Save more than you think you need" (28.7%) and "Take care of your health" (26.0%). A few people wrote in "All of the above." Among other answers written in:
- "Have some purpose every day."
- "Pay off mortgage and cars before retirement."
- "Marry well."
- "Never have children!!!!!"
Says Elliott Servais, a Certified Financial Planner for EP Wealth Advisors in Torrance, California, "Your survey participants are very wise. The number one response is correct, and you should start planning as soon as possible for a successful retirement. Using a fee-only financial planner will help you manage the complexities of the initial plan and keep you on course for retirement.
"The earlier you start, the more time you'll have for your investments to grow. Having a plan and being disciplined is key to a successful retirement. As noted, unforeseen medical expenses can derail a plan and need to be accounted for."
We also asked retirees:
The most popular choice selected was "How unhealthy I would be" (20.9%), which barely squeaked past "How much more I needed to save" (19.4%). "How bored I would be" came in third (14.3%), followed by "How much longer I would live"(10.1%).
Many people chose to come up with their own answer, and most of those fell into three categories:
- They hadn't made any miscalculations (12.4% of all respondents)
- They were busier than expected (3.9%)
- They were having more fun than expected (1.6%)
Some people admitted miscalculating the timing of their retirement, ranging from "I didn't plan on retiring so early" to "Didn't think I could retire as early as I did." Other answers submitted include:
- "costs of healthcare"
- "How much I missed working"
- "How great life can be when the stress is gone."
Says financial advisor Servais, "Sounds like there's some intelligence in hindsight with your survey participants, because if they would have started planning early, they would have been more likely to account for the rising costs of healthcare. Modern medicine has helped us live longer, but it can be expensive. Financial health and physical health go together, and it's smart to stay active, maybe even have an 'encore career' or volunteer for those golden years."