1. Retiring too early.
Before you retire, figure out a solid retirement budget first. Just by working a few more years, you can make your future more secure. If you lose your job, look for part-time work.
2. Retiring with debt.
Get rid of your credit card debt while you're still employed and pay off those car loans. And even consider prepaying your mortgage, too.
3. Tapping benefits too soon.
It's tempting to grab your Social Security benefit as soon as it's there, at age 62. If you do, however, the amount of your benefit will be cut by 25 percent — a cut that affects you for life.
4. Refusing to invest in stocks for growth after you retire.
Over the next 10 to 20 years, American businesses will grow and their stocks will, too. Cash and bonds get you through your first retirement years, but you need growth from stocks to support the second half of your retirement.
5. Ignoring your life expectancy.
People 60 or 65 today are living into their mid-to-late 80s and beyond. To be safe with your planning, assume that you (or your spouse) will live at least to 95.
6. Failing to protect your spouse.
If you have a pension, it should cover your spouse's life as well as yours, unless your spouse has plenty of money of his or her own.
Jane Bryant Quinn is a personal finance expert and author of Making the Most of Your Money NOW.
Ace Your Retirement "College Ace" - Approximately 2 in 5 households headed by people ages 55-64 - over 9 million households - have no retirement assets saved at all.
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