Six ways to ruin your retirement

Retirement is ideally the time when you get to take it easy after decades of labouring to make a living. It should be a time of peace and tranquillity.

However, this only happens with deliberate effort and planning from as early as possible. Here are six attitudes to drop if you want to secure your retirement.

1. Waiting too long to take charge of your finances

The key to effective management of resources is sound financial management from as early on as possible. Live within your means, operate on a budget, save and invest. It doesn’t matter how much money passes through your hands, you still need to manage it.

Invest in financial literacy as early as possible. Learn how to come up with clear goals on where you want to be 10, 20 years down the road.

Do you want to own a house in the city or your rural home? How will you work towards that? How much will it cost to make that dream a reality? How will you finance it?

A financial literacy programme will help you avoid money mistakes that will deny you financial stability in retirement.

2. Failing to plan

Planning for retirement is about more than just finances. Realising a few years to retirement that you don’t have a retirement home or that the home you have is inappropriate for retirement can be disastrous.

Failing to plan for your future early could see you invest in a home that won’t serve you in retirement.

Where would you like to spend most of your time after retirement? Weigh factors such as the activities you anticipate, your networks and conveniences you need. It’s possible to live another 30 or 40 years after retirement, which is a long time to live somewhere you’re not comfortable.

Think about your support group, access to health centres, the amenities that matter and closeness to family and friends so that you’re not too isolated.

3. Assuming you’ll never stop working

When you’re young, you have the energy to try out different things. If you try something out and it fails, you can still reinvent yourself and try something else.

However, adapting to new technologies could be difficult as you grow older. Medical conditions are also common in old age and can make working difficult.

So even though you’re very good at what you do, you’ll discover that many people prefer to work with someone younger and more tech savvy.

Don’t plan for a retirement that involves work, because all sorts of things could happen that make this impossible.

4. Living an unhealthy lifestyle

The way you live when you’re young impacts how you age. Take care of your health to avoid being taken out of commission prematurely by lifestyle diseases.

Quit smoking, drink in moderation, if at all, reduce the amount of junk food you eat, incorporate an exercise regime into your lifestyle, and handle stress correctly.

Chronic stress is a major cause of life-threatening diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, so learn how to step away from toxic situations and create a support system.

5. Assuming you can live on a pension

Your pension is a small percentage of your salary. Don’t imagine that once you retire you’ll spend less and the pension will cover your needs.

You’ll still have a life, want to travel to places, attend events, such as weddings or graduations.

Your house and car will still need maintenance, you’ll still need to replace stuff in the house and in your wardrobe. Anticipate the effects of inflation and keep in mind that things will be more expensive in the future.

6. Failing to secure your relationships

Leaving unresolved issues in the family to fester until retirement can cost you dearly. It’s easy to find yourself abandoned and neglected by family members in the years when you most need their support.

Family members who tolerated you while you were working and productive might lose patience with you after you retire. Further, loneliness can cut years from your lifespan.

Don’t put off reconciliation until it’s too late. You’ll need to rely on more than just yourself.