Mistakes retirees make with their money

Many seniors make costly investing and estate planning mistakes. Smart, knowledgeable retirees make errors that cost them thousands of dollars.

These simple errors often involve simple planning mistakes such as:

  • Naming the wrong beneficiary on RRSPs and RRIFs.
  • Paying excessive taxes on mutual fund holdings.
  • Having interest earned outside RRSPs and RRIFs and capital gains and dividend income inside their RRSPs and RRIFs.

We are in an age of do-it-yourself. There is no shortage of financial information, but what is the right information?

For example, when you retire, you stop earning money. Your investing goal in retirement is to not lose money, not to make money. This is a fundamental change in how you should invest.

Target your investments to reduce losses and avoid costly investing mistakes. Have you ever thought to yourself do I have enough money to last? When people get concerned about having enough money, they tend to make short-term investment decisions. They invest in six month or one-year term deposits. The typical bank account pays less than one percent. The difference between a bank account and a three or five-year investment is usually 3-4% a 240% difference. Over the next five years, that’s another 700-1000% more income.

Another common and sometimes costly mistake is buying last year’s mutual fund winner. Read the ads of the fund companies. Do they ever publish the funds out of favor or poor performers? Ignore mutual fund advertisements. Often well-performing funds do not repeat their performance in subsequent periods.

Find an all-period strategy. One that focuses on risk-adjusted performance, not market returns. In other words, funds that focus on making money every year, while managing the risk through risk reduction strategies such as asset allocation. Funds that can hold stocks, bonds, income securities, and cash or short-term investments, not just stocks.

Ignore hot tips or time urgent investment opportunities. Think in terms of time horizons based on your expected lifetime.

Make logical not emotional investment decisions and enjoy what you worked for your whole life.

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