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With just a few months left in the year, National Financial Planning Month is a great time to take charge of your retirement saving strategy. Some of the most important things you can do are to make sure you’re creating a diverse portfolio that will protect your principal from market swings and will provide for you for life. There are also common obstacles faced along the way, so make sure to avoid these retirement pitfalls:

  1. Lack of Portfolio Diversity. While a 401(k) is a great start to a retirement portfolio, it likely won’t be enough for retirement and will need to be supplemented by another product. For example, a Fixed Indexed Annuity can provide much-needed balance to your portfolio and can offer guaranteed lifetime income.
  2. Waiting Too Long to Save. While it’s great that life expectancy is increasing, it’s also becoming more and more difficult to create a nest egg that will provide you with lifetime income. It might seem simple, but it’s worth repeating: the earlier you start saving, the more likely you are to have income that lasts throughout your whole retirement.
  3. Not Taking Advantage of Employer-Sponsored “Free Money”. If your company offers a 401(k) or an employer-sponsored plan, even if you don’t plan for it to be your primary retirement saving vehicle, strongly consider contributing at least some percentage of your salary. Think of any match your employer makes as a gift that you waste by not contributing.
  4. Underestimating Unexpected Expenses. We like to think of retirement as a free-and-easy time in our lives, but it can be filled with unexpected costs that can derail your financial plan. A recent estimate by Fidelity showed that a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need an estimated $245,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement. Home damage, identity theft or another emergency can compound these costs. That’s why it is so important to make savvy financial decisions and start planning for retirement early, so you’re prepared for the unexpected and are able to enjoy retirement.
  5. Relying on Pensions and Social Security Alone. It’s no secret that Americans are questioning the future of Social Security. It’s important to know that Social Security might not be enough to get you through retirement comfortably, and to keep in mind the importance of a balanced portfolio supplemented with other retirement products.
  6. Retiring Too Early. While it might be tempting to retire early, remember that you’ll need your money to last as long as you do, so it might be worth waiting a few years to make sure that your financial future is provided for and you can kick back and relax in your golden years.

Protect Your Financial Plan by Avoiding These Retirement Pitfalls