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Serving Washington State  (253)838-3454

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Saving for Retirement? Make Sure to Avoid “The Dirty Dozen”

Recently we discovered a good article on the website It’s called “The Dirty Dozen Retirement Planning Mistakes to Avoid,” and we think it’s a solid list to review as you plan for your future in retirement. Click here to read this helpful article.

Please note that we pass along this recommendation with one caveat: the focus of this “Dirty Dozen” article is 100% financial. If you’re familiar with our approach to retirement, you know that finances are only one part of retirement. Our philosophy says that, if you focus only on finances (something many financial planners do) and avoid planning for your health, housing, legal and family needs, you’re not formulating a complete plan.

With that warning, let’s consider a few of these twelve major financial mistakes. Most will sound familiar, but it always amazes us how few aging Americans are willing to face the financial realities of retirement honestly and plan carefully. The Financial Mentor article cites a PBS interview that says ”over 900 people in any given 1000 person retirement plan will retire in poverty or run out of money before death – that is over 90% of participants.” In other words, many people refuse to face reality as they age. Why does this happen?

The first three of the “dirty dozen” mistakes help answer that question. First, the article says, many retirees simply have no plan. Second, they don’t save enough. And third, they start saving too late. Obviously none of us can go back and correct past mistakes. But as we tell our Aging Options clients, we can make an honest assessment of where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. When it comes to making a plan, there’s no time like the present, since you have no control over the past!

The next three mistakes involve Social Security and 401(k) plans. The basic message here is, don’t be passive and assume someone else is going to take care of your retirement finances. We owe it to ourselves and our families to take maximum advantage of all the options available to us – by saving enough to receive all the employer matching funds we qualify for, and by rolling over our 401(k) accounts when we change jobs instead of cashing them in. The article states,  “The upshot of all this is anyone not taking full advantage of the savings incentives built into the tax system is throwing away a huge opportunity, and once the opportunity is gone you can never retrieve it.”

The article cites other financial pitfalls to avoid. Are you making unwise investments?  Failing to take rising health care costs into account? Spending too much? If you are, you’re dream for a secure retirement is in serious jeopardy of becoming a nightmare. The article gives a helpful overview of all these potential traps.

So what to do? If you’re ready to plan for your retirement future – and you should be! – we strongly urge you to start by attending one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, scheduled at locations throughout the Puget Sound area. We’ll walk you through a comprehensive approach to retirement, showing you how to plan for all aspects of aging so that you can live the kind of life you want to live in your retirement years. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates, times and locations.

For a more personalized approach to your LifePlan, why not contact our office for an individual appointment? Join our thousands of satisfied clients who now are able look forward to retirement with greater confidence and peace of mind. It will be our pleasure to serve you!

(Originally reported at


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