8 Mistakes That Can Upend Your Retirement

Pursuing your retirement dreams is challenging enough without making some common, and very avoidable, mistakes. Here are eight big mistakes to steer clear of, if possible.

No Strategy. Yes, the biggest mistake is having no strategy at all. Without a strategy, you may have no goals, leaving you no way of knowing how you’ll get there – and if you’ve even arrived. Creating a strategy may increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement.

Frequent Trading. Chasing “hot” investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then, make adjustments based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs.

Not Maximizing Tax-Deferred Savings. Workers have tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. Not participating in your workplace retirement plan may be a mistake, especially when you’re passing up free money in the form of employer-matching contributions.

Prioritizing College Funding over Retirement. Your kids’ college education is important, but you may not want to sacrifice your retirement for it. Remember, you can get loans and grants for college, but you can’t for your retirement.

Overlooking Health Care Costs. Extended care may be an expense that can undermine your financial strategy for retirement if you don’t prepare for it.

Not Adjusting Your Investment Approach Well Before Retirement. The last thing your retirement portfolio can afford is a sharp fall in stock prices and a sustained bear market at the moment you’re ready to stop working. Consider adjusting your asset allocation in advance of tapping your savings so you’re not selling stocks when prices are depressed.

The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation and diversification are approaches to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee against investment loss. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Retiring with Too Much Debt. If too much debt is bad when you’re making money, it can be especially harmful when you’re living in retirement. Consider managing or reducing your debt level before you retire.

It’s Not Only About Money. Above all, a rewarding retirement requires good health. So, maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, stay socially involved, and remain intellectually active.

 

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

– Harry S. Truman


Recipe of the Week

American Flag Cheesecake

Patriotic American flag cake with blueberries and strawberries on vintage white background

Serves 12

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • ⅛ tsp. salt

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • Whipped cream
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

Directions:

  1. Select your rectangular pie pan. Our favorite is a 9″ x 11″ baking dish.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  3. Stir all the crust ingredients together until combined.
  4. Press them into the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Make a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides.
  5. Mix all the filling ingredients together, starting with the cream cheese and sugar, then adding in the eggs and vanilla when the former is smooth. If you’re mixing by hand, make sure you don’t over mix. If you’re using an automatic mixer, set it at a low or medium-low speed.
  6. Pour the filling into the crust.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then check it. If the crust isn’t done, add another 10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch your crust!
  8. Let the cheesecake cool.
  9. Once chilled, spread the whipped cream across the top and decorate the top of the cheesecake like an American flag! Halve the strawberries and lay them out like the stripes, then put the blueberries in a square in the top left as the stars. The white whipped cream underneath will make it red, white, and blue!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes[1]


Tax Tips

Reporting Cash Payments

Expecting a little extra cash from a gift, sale, or trade? The IRS wants to know. Individuals, companies, corporations, partnerships, associations, trusts, and estates are all required to report cash transactions of more than $10,000. These cash payments can include jewelry sales, a gift from a family member, an overseas purchase, or any other cash transaction. You also need to report cash payments that were received in one lump sum, in two or more related payments within 24 hours, and as part of a single transaction or two or more transactions in the last year.

Luckily, reporting cash payments is simple. All you have to do is file Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business. The form requires information about both the giver and the receiver of the cash, a description of the transaction, and information about any other parties involved.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[2]

Golf Tip

Playing a Tricky Par 5? Ditch the Driver and Lay Up

There’s a unique beauty to tough par 5s. Whether you’re playing a winding layout with lots of twists or turns and trying to navigate various sand traps or bodies of water, or on a course that seems to prioritize the long ball, challenging your skills on strategic par 5s can be thrilling (yet, sometimes, frustrating). This tip might save you a few strokes.

Looking at the fairway spread out in front of you, you may be tempted to go for the driver and focus on power. But laying up for your first and second shot might be a better bet. For some difficult par 5s, many skilled golfers tee off with a 3-wood, driving iron, or even a 2-iron or 3-iron. These clubs will help you get enough distance on your tee shot (and perhaps, your second) with less risk of ending up in the sand, rough, or water. Aim for the center of the fairway and think about a target distance of 230 to 270 yards instead of trying to get as far as possible with your driver.

Tip adapted from Golf Tips Magazine[3]


Healthy Lifestyle

Ready to Go Keto?

If you’ve been seeing information about the ketogenic diet pop up everywhere, you’re not alone! This diet is the newest nutrition craze to hit the wellness scene, but does it actually work?

Although fans of the keto diet have increased in recent years, the concept of the diet isn’t a new idea. The goal of the diet is to achieve ketosis, which is the metabolic state in which your body burns fat instead of sugar. By eating a diet high in protein and fat, you can encourage your body to enter this state.

Generally, the body burns glucose for energy. We store up higher levels of glucose when we eat a diet high in carbs and sugar. The keto diet seeks to reverse this process and force the body to run on fat instead of sugar. In addition, proponents of the diet claim weight loss, more energy, and a sustained appetite. Meal plans often include eggs, lean proteins, and lots of veggies.

Tip adapted from Healthline[4]

Green Living

Host a Plastic-Free, 4th-of-July Party

Hosting a 4th-of-July party this year? Cheers! Time to pull out the beverages, red-white- and-blue snacks, and sparklers. But there’s one thing on your party-planning checklist you should consider leaving out – plastic!

Plastic waste is becoming a huge environmental issue, and events, like 4th-of-July parties, contribute to this growing problem. Between the plastic cups, utensils, serving dishes, and napkins, it’s no wonder why there’s so much plastic in our landfills and oceans.

This year, try hosting a zero-waste party by renting cutlery, plates, cloth napkins, and glasses from your local party rental company instead of using disposable plastic options. Alternately, if you want the convenience of disposable plastic items, use compostable materials or “plastics” made from sustainable materials, like corn. These bioplastics don’t produce a net increase in carbon dioxide gas when they break down, and they break down much faster than traditional plastic. Be nice to the environment this 4th of July!

Tip adapted from Friends of the Earth[5]