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10 Retirement Tips

Written by Gary North on June 1, 2012

Robert Powell is the retirement columnist for MarketWatch.  He is OK. He sometimes offers some good tips. He has two major problems: (1) hardly anyone reads his column, and (2) of those who do, hardly anyone will take his advice.

That’s because hardly anyone plans seriously for retirement.

How do I know? Because most people retire. Most people find out after five years that they made a serious mistake in retiring. Too late.

If they did the kind of planning for retirement that Powell recommends, the majority of Americans would discover by age 60 that they cannot afford to retire. In 2011, a little over 25% of Americans take the lower “early retirement” option offered by Social Security at age 62. They are unwilling to wait. They think they need the money at age 62.

Anyone who needs government-provided income at age 62 cannot possibly afford to retire at age 66. But most Americans do retire by age 66.

We read stories about a big change today: older Americans are staying in the work force. But when we look at the statistics, we find that almost two-thirds of American men quit at age 65. For women, it’s almost three-quarters. About 90% of the men quit by age 75. Here is a chart that shows this clearly.  It is published here.

One of Powell’s tips has to do with goal-setting. This is very good advice.

When thinking about your income, or your long life, think also about the end game. “You’ll need goals in retirement,” said Andrea Bulen, a financial planner with Paula Hogan. “Retirement is not necessarily an end, but a beginning. Set those goals and plan out what you will need to do to achieve them. Is your retirement income sufficient to meet those goals?”

Also, consider how you will change your lifestyle in retirement, not just from a monetary perspective, but what will your day-to-day life feel like? “What would an ideal week in retirement look like?,” Bulen asked. “What will an ideal week in retirement look like for your spouse? Are those weeks compatible?”

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8 thoughts on “10 Retirement Tips

  1. The problem with all tax and retirement strategies is they are tied to your assets (financial and otherwise) all of which Americans dutifully report to the government. The notion of private property has been abolished in the US (try not paying your property taxes for a year if you don't believe it). Congress can change the laws tomorrow and invalidate instantly everything these investment and retirement advisors are recommending. Until or unless we devolve government from DC to the states and local authorities where we have some control and say-so over how our lives are run, or, until the majority of congressmen think and act like Ron and Rand Paul, everything we have is subject to confiscation.

  2. My plan has always relied on actual monies received monthly. Never using withdrawals from any investment account!

  3. If you think congress acts quickly, consider what the current president does, in spite of what congress wants him to do.

  4. And you think you have anymore control at the state level than the federal? Very few states allow much say from the electorate, either.

  5. The big advantage of local over national politics is it is easier to get in the faces of local politicians (my city councilman lives in the same subdivision I do) and make them slightly more uncomfortable with backing reckless policies. When I call my US senator or congressman's office about TARP or NDAA I just get a bored 20-something aide who "promises" (s)he will pass on my concerns on to the boss. Sure they will. As long as local and state politicians have aspirations to national office they will always defer to what Washington says.

  6. Blair Franconia, NH says:

    Tip O'Neill said: "All politics is local." He was right.

  7. lilbear68 says:

    the main reason to take your ssi as soon as possible is that its YOUR money and you will have more real money in your pocket sooner than if you waited. the money doesnt equal out and pass the early retiement date till you reach 78. do you want to gamble on how long youll live. its your money get it before the govt finds new ways to steal it or destroy the value thru inflation.
    another question i have to ask, what investments and how much per year would i have had to put away so they could pay me $30,000 a year in retirement, 30k is a very modest income these days

  8. Save one million, and drawdown your interest of three percent, or thirty thoussnd per year. Except the inflation rate is also three percent, which cancels out any earnings. We can't win.