8 Retirement Secrets Seniors Want You to Know

This advice from retirees might get you to reconsider putting off saving for retirement.
Updated April 9, 2024
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Retirement might seem far away, but it's never too soon to start planning. 

By the time you reach retirement age, it’s too late to rethink your entire retirement plan. Fortunately, generations of people have already gone through retirement, and they have plenty of wisdom to share.

Should you have saved more or less? And could you stop wasting money on unnecessary purchases now that you'll regret later? Here are some wise pieces of advice that successful retirees want you to know.

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Start saving earlier

Andrey Popov/Adobe human hand drawing retirement plan growth concept

While you can find ways to supplement your income and savings in retirement, you want to start from a strong financial base. And the earlier you start saving, the likelier you are to have one. 

To have enough money for a comfortable retirement, you should be tucking away a good 10% to 15% of your income for as many years as possible.

Save more than you think you’ll need

kite_rin/Adobe woman accountant using calculator and computer in office

Along with saving earlier, most retirees also wish they’d saved more. 

Many advisors recommend having 10 times your annual income saved by the time you’re 67. That’s a hard number to reach if you’re only saving a few dollars here and there.

Meet with a financial advisor

Allistair/peopleimages.com/Adobe middle aged man shaking hands with a financial advisor

Retirement advisors and financial planners can help you figure out how much of your income to set aside for retirement, where to invest your funds, and how to set financial goals that can help you retire on time.

For most people, the cost of hiring a financial advisor is a fair price to pay. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, 90% of individuals who worked with a financial planner said their planner’s advice made hiring them worthwhile.

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Don’t forget about taxes

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Some of the most common types of retirement savings accounts, including 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, aren’t taxed until you start withdrawing funds from them in retirement. 

As a result, the figure you see in your savings account isn’t the exact amount of money you’ll have to live on.

When you’re deciding how much money you need to save while you’re still working, make sure you take taxes into account. Otherwise, you risk saving too little.

Count on inflation

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Like death and taxes, inflation is likely to affect your financial future. According to many economists, a healthy economy experiences a predictable, low amount of inflation each year. 

But as 2022 showed, unpredictable global events can upend financial expectations overnight. Your dollar won’t go as far a few decades from now as it does now, so adjust your savings goals with future inflation in mind.

Don’t wait to start traveling

vitaliymateha/Adobe woman traveler with small backpack

Saving enough money is essential for a good retirement, but knowing when to spend instead of saving might be just as important for your quality of life. 

If you're hoping to step up your travel game, it’s worth considering whether you should wait to visit or travel sooner rather than later.

Don’t waste money on new cars

Syda Productions/Adobe Man driving a car

New cars depreciate by 20% in their first year of ownership, and their value declines 10% a year afterward. And, even though millions of retirees still drive, they tend to drive for fewer hours than their younger counterparts. 

Investing in a completely new luxury item that you’re going to use less and less as you age just doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when you could use that money to boost your bank account for retirement instead.

Live within your means

Graphicroyalty/Adobe problem with blocked credit card

Spending less than you earn is the best way to ensure that you’ll have enough money to live on once you reach retirement. 

If you can avoid taking on debt, especially high-interest consumer debt, you’ll be better prepared to live on a fixed income later on. You’ll also establish healthy financial habits that will serve you well in retirement too.

Bottom line

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Hindsight is 20/20, but once you’ve retired, you’re running low on time to apply the financial lessons you should have learned long ago.

It’s impossible to live with no regrets at all, but these pieces of wisdom could help you avoid throwing your money away and reduce financial regrets during your golden years.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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