Key Things Retirees Wish They Could Tell Their Younger Selves

We cannot go back in time and do things differently, no matter how much we’d like that in some cases. But we can learn from our experiences and pass on what we’ve learned to others.

In terms of decisions that affect the retirement years, we’ve listened to real retirees talk about their financial regrets and money-related things they wished they’d had done differently. Let these be a valuable lesson to you for your future retirement!

Make More Real Estate Investments

One of the best decisions in terms of long-term financial investments is to invest in real estate. Still, when you’re at a younger age or don’t have much saved up for any entrepreneurial ventures, investments can wait.  Or so you think.

Like a former realtor, Mary Ann Huntington said, “Being self-employed most of our working years, we didn’t have a lump sum saved like couples who work for a company. With the small amount we did have, I wish we had bought properties in small communities around where we live.”

Like many other seniors, Mary Ann and her husband realized investing inland at the right moment is a better and safer option to enjoy carefree golden years. “You really can’t go wrong investing inland. […] If only we had listened to ourselves and done it more often.”

Don’t Turn Making Money into Your Only Goal

Many people throughout the years focus so much on work and making money that they forget there are also other priorities in life like spending time with family. Most of them realize they’ve wasted so much time with jobs they didn’t even like instead of focusing more on themselves.

“I worked very hard for most of my life and put aside just enough to live on (pension and Social Security) when my husband and I retired,” said the mother of three. “The one regret I have is that I did not take more time off to spend with my children. It all went so fast, and I regret every day that I was off working, usually in a job I did not really like, while they were learning and growing — days you can never get back,” said former college professor, researcher and social worker Kathleen Fox.

Capitalize the 401(k)

When you’re employed and receive a constant paycheck, retirement seems like a distant event. That’s why many people don’t save any money or don’t take advantage of their employer’s sponsored retirement program.

Pam Davis, a former speech pathologist, talked about hers and her husband’s experience with 401 (k) and its importance to their post-retirement life.

“Back when we lived paycheck to paycheck with four kids at home, I wish we had put as little as $20 per pay period into a 401(k) or 403(b) (for educators). We thought we needed hundreds each month to save for retirement, and since that wasn’t an option, we had years where we put nothing into our accounts.”

“I had no choice but to give a set amount to the retirement account and my employer matched it at 101%. At the time, I didn’t even think about it, but now realize how wonderful that was. In fact, with little money in the 401(k) and 403(b) accounts, it is our lifesaver,” Davis said.

Save Sooner

“Start saving as early as possible and as much as you can within your budget,” said Dave R., formed Trans World Airlines employee. “This will allow it to accumulate and build up your nest egg well over time.”

This is one thing that people overlook. Even if you’re young, it doesn’t mean you should put something aside for rainy days, or retirement days, in this case. The earlier you start saving, the more you increase your chances to financially secure your retirement.

Consider a Retirement Planning

Creating a financial plan that matches your goals, lifestyle and retirement needs, is a good way to make sure that you have a smooth retirement. However, many people disregard this aspect.

When it became time to retire, Drew Parker, for example, drafted his Complete Retirement Planner but expressed a certain regret.

“When I was younger, I wish that I had known the full value of having a comprehensive financial plan. I didn’t create one until I was actually ready to retire, but I wish I had created one decade before. To my younger self, I would say, ‘Create a financial plan as early in your career as possible so that you won’t have to guess and hope about what it will take to become financially secure.”

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