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Whether it’s not saving enough, or being too conservative with their investments, people already in retirement make many mistakes that adversely impact their lifestyle that can tarnish their so-called golden years.

But that doesn’t have to happen to you. Before you let history repeat itself, check out these five pointers when thinking about retirement:

  1. Know Your Expected Lifestyle and Plan Accordingly: Many retirees wrongfully assumed their expenses would automatically decrease when they left the workforce so they won’t need their full salary to get make ends meet. Sounds good on paper, but the reality is, expenses often either stay the same or go up enough to make a difference. The traditional school of thought was that people should plan to need two-thirds of their current income in retirement, but this can vary greatly depending on their hobbies.
  2. Realize You Could Live Longer Than Expected: Just a couple decades ago, the average life span was in the 70s, but now people are living well into their 80s, 90s and even 100s, and living longer requires precise financial planning. Often people move all their investments into bonds when they retire because they consider it a conservative move, but because they are living sometimes 30 years in retirement, they need to have a more diversified investment portfolio.
  3. Pay Off Debt Before Retirement: Being burdened with credit card debt on a fixed-income is a major budget constraint in retirement, instead it’s recommended to pay down as much debt as possible before leaving the workforce. First tackle debt with the high interest rates and then work to pay down payments with lower rates like a mortgage.
  4. Don’t Push Off Saving: One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is waiting too long to start saving for life after work. Many people start saving for retirement in their 50s or 60s when in reality, it should have started in their late 20s or early 30s.
  5. Calculate an Estimate for Your Health Care: Because people are living longer they will need more medical costs, and experts say this area is often grossly underestimated, especially when it comes to long-term care needs. Nursing homes can cost upwards of $20,000 a month. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance in your early 50s when it’s still inexpensive to provide a financial peace of mind.