While you can learn a lot from financial experts, there is also plenty to be learned from regular people how have been where you are. In “Retirees Confess What They Wish They’d Done With Their Money” on Yahoo.com, retirees discuss what they wish they had known and done in the years before they stopped working.
The article quotes a woman who expressed regrets that she hadn’t even put a small amount, such as twenty dollars each pay period, into a 401(k). She and her spouse were under the impression that saving for retirement required a commitment of hundreds of dollars a month. Since withholding that much from a paycheck while raising four children seemed daunting, there were years when they put nothing into their retirement accounts. And even after their children had left, it wasn’t easy to increase retirement savings. The interviewee said that being obliged to put money into a pension that her employer matched is what helped her in retirement because there was not much in her 401(k).
Another interviewee points out regrets about his spending. He remembers buying sports cars, taking vacations, and buying a sailboat as a young man staring out. He was well paid but as an older man, he now sees that he could have benefited from compound interest over time if he had invested more money into retirement savings instead of spending on what the article terms “depreciating assets.”
One man says he wished he had created a comprehensive financial plan when he was starting to work. There were some advantages to creating one when he was ready to retire but he feels he could have benefitted from having such a plan to guide him throughout his career since: “Your retirement planning should take into account your values and goals, your risk tolerance, your goal retirement age and the lifestyle you want.” You can get help from a Fee-Only financial planner to get perspective and tailor a retirement plan that aligns with your goals.