iStock_000016561786_SmallYou already know that planning for retirement income is important. That’s why you save faithfully and maximize your retirement fund contributions. But another part of preparation involves analyzing the mistakes of others. If you can learn a valuable lesson from their missteps, you can hopefully prevent your own retirement income downfalls in the future.

Watch your contribution deadlines. If you have already opened and funded an IRA, you know that you have chosen a valuable, tax-advantaged strategy to save for retirement. But you won’t reap those tax advantages if you don’t make your annual contributions by April 15 of the following spring! Don’t wait too late, or you could miss out. Consider setting up a schedule for automatic contributions, so that you don’t have to scramble to make last-minute contributions to your IRA.

View retirement communities with a skeptical eye. Unfortunately, many con artists view retirees as easy prey. They understand that you want to live a comfortable life on a fixed income, and they use that knowledge to their advantage. There are many wonderful retirement communities out there, but remember that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Fully investigate hidden fees such as homeowners association fees, maintenance fees, and other costs of living in a nice retirement community. A community that appears inexpensive might charge you the “full price” in very sneaky ways.

Consider reverse mortgages carefully. Under the right circumstances, a reverse mortgage can be a good deal for retirees. But in many cases, signing onto a reverse mortgage deal can be a big mistake. Consult carefully with an insurance professional about all of your options before taking such a drastic step.

Investigate your 401k fees. Periodically, everyone should take a closer look at their 401k fund, to make sure their selections still match up with their needs and risk tolerance. In particular, you should investigate your expense ratios, because a difference of even one percent can really add up over time. It’s usually best to look for fund options with lower expense ratios, although in some cases the benefits of a particular option can outweigh a higher cost.

The main thing to remember is that older people are often a prime target for those who seek to take advantage of their life’s savings and need for stability. If you have questions about a particular retirement income option, or just want to create a plan for economic stability, call our office to schedule an appointment. We can help you make safe choices that preserve your savings, while allowing the lifestyle you want and deserve.

15054 – 2015/11/16