Planning for the Future: 5 Tough Money Lessons Shared by Retirees

A young girl learning money lessons from her elder.

Imagine being able to go back in time to make better decisions. Wouldn't it be great? Better yet, what if you can look into your future and use that knowledge to make better choices? The truth is you don't need to be a rocket scientist to travel forward and back in time. You simply need to listen to the regrets of retirees. They now have a clear vision of what they should have done in their go-go years. Armed with this knowledge, you can make life-changing decisions now. Decisions that will help you have a more comfortable and better retirement. That's what this post is about: money lessons. Retirees are exposing money mistakes they made in their twenties, thirties, and forties to give you a clearer picture of what you should do.

First Of The Money Lessons: You Don't Know Everything

Many seniors now admit they didn't know everything. They didn't heed advice from their mentors, parents, children, and even financial advisors. Further, they didn't take the time to learn the basics of personal finance. You don't have to make the same mistake.

There are plenty of resources for you to get up to speed on financial education online and offline. Chances are you have friends and family members who are thriving financially. Ask them for assistance. Don't assume you know everything.

Start Saving for Retirement Early

Talk to any retiree about money lessons. Ask them if they have enough savings and if they started early enough. You will hear many of them say they should have started saving for retirement earlier than they did.

Unfortunately, this is guilt that grows with age. So instead of spending a lot of time and money on unnecessary products and services channel those bucks to your retirement savings. It may not sound good now, but it will help you later.

Collect Free Money

Who says "no" to free money? Many of us do, and, according to these money lessons, you shouldn't. Many employers will match contributions to your 401 (k). But many of us don't make the most of this opportunity and miss collecting free money. And many seniors now rue not participating or maximizing on their employer retirement plan.

Your employer's 401 (k) plan match is essentially free money you get after making pre-tax contributions to your retirement plan for your salary. If you don't contribute to your 401 (k), you forfeit the opportunity to get free money from your employer.

So, talk to your HR representative about your employer's match. Find out how much you need to contribute to make the most of it.

Don't Dip Into Your Savings Before Retirement

You can be on the right path to a comfortable retirement but ruin things because you need the money before retirement. Financial planners say many retirees lament using retirement money while still working.

Many admit they should have let the money grow as one of the money lessons. Although you may be pushed to a wall, let this be a measure of last resort. Look for alternative ways to make more money like taking on part-time jobs or starting a side hustle instead of withdrawing retirement savings.

Have a Plan With the Help of your Money Lessons

Planning can make a huge difference in your retirement. According to a 2019 study, less than 50% of Baby Boomers said they set specific goals for their retirement plans. And those who set specific goals realized 25% of more savings than those who did not.

Working with a plan helps instill discipline and avoid mistakes discussed in this post. So don't just save money blindly. Write down how much you need to save every month, how much you need to save in 5, 10, or 20 years. This will help you remain focused.

Don't Give Up

Giving up is one of the greatest mistakes you can make. Even if you think you're not making progress, don't give up.

Find More Money Lessons

Keep in mind that the best time to start saving and planning for the future is right now. We hope these lessons become an eye-opener for you and your loved ones. Good luck!

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