7 Money Myths That Could Leave You Broke in Retirement

Money Myths That Could Leave You Broke in Retirement
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According to one poll, 64% of Americans will retire impoverished. Furthermore, according to the annual Retirement Savings Survey, 46% of respondents have no money set aside for retirement.

If you’ve come in late to the retirement savings game or simply don’t believe you have enough money saved to live comfortably once you retire, it’s time to reconsider some of your ideas about saving and investing.

You’ll need to adjust some of your money attitudes right away — or risk compromising your retirement funds — from deferring savings contributions to thinking health insurance and Social Security will cover you.

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Myth #1: If I don’t work, I won’t be able to earn and save more money

Do you think you’ll need to keep part-time work or rely on another source of income to save for retirement? Reconsider your position. You could invest in a Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity (MYGA), which guarantees a specified amount of compound interest for a set number of years. Consider purchasing a series of smaller annuities over the period of five or ten years, which you can discontinue if your health deteriorates.

For example, you may buy a 5-year MYGA with a lump sum payment of $75,000 from a low-interest savings account to ensure a continuous stream of income for the next five years. This would allow you to quickly increase your savings without needing to work longer hours.

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Myth #2: When I retire, I’ll be able to live on a lot less money

If your justification for ignoring your retirement savings is that you don’t need that much money to be happy or that you expect your cost of living to plummet, you may be in for a rude awakening when you eventually say goodbye to the salary.

Consider the consequences of inflation and any changes in your spending habits over the next few decades – whether you plan on traveling, moving to a new home, or simply relocating, you’ll almost certainly require additional income.

Also, keep in mind that your mortgage may not be paid off or that you may need to take out a new loan. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing accounted for 36.5 percent of average yearly expenditures at age 75 in 2016. No matter where you live, that’s a significant amount.

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Myth #3: I can’t afford to make risky investments so close to retirement

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience investing in the stock market, you can still get good returns on some types of investments as part of your retirement strategy.

If you’re nearing retirement, you probably don’t want to put your money in high-risk (and high yield) assets in case the markets don’t perform well enough by the time you retire. With a portion of your undisturbed savings, you can afford to make some low-risk investments at that age.

One alternative is to join a lending platform and lend money to small business owners or individuals in exchange for a high return on investment. This form of investment isn’t as safe as, say, a bank CD, but it can let you put money down for retirement sooner than you expect.

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Myth #4: If I get very sick, my health insurance will cover me

If you are diagnosed with a severe disease or are involved in a serious accident, your health insurance coverage may refuse some claims or only pay a portion of your medical bills. If you have an Affordable Care Act plan, your out-of-pocket health care costs might range from $2,159 to $6,904 before you reach your deductible.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, you may have to pay for medical procedures that aren’t covered by your Obamacare plan. If you don’t have money set aside for medical or health crises, or if you don’t have a critical illness insurance plan that pays for everything after you’re diagnosed, you could be saddled with medical debt for years.

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Myth #5: My Social Security benefits are tax-free all the time

If you believe that Social Security benefits are never taxed, you need to wake up. This is, in fact, a fabrication.

Based on your previous retirement income, up to 85% of your benefits could be taxed. In other words, if your non-Social Security income is low enough, you may be able to avoid paying any taxes at all.

If your adjusted gross income and tax-exempt interest income plus half of your Social Security benefits equals less than $32,000 and you are married and filing jointly, you owe no tax. If your income is higher than this threshold, however, the tax you owe is calculated using a sophisticated formula given in the IRS publication 915 worksheets.

However, there is some good news: regardless of your income, you will only be taxed on 85 percent of your benefits. The remaining 15% is tax-free. Social Security is tax-advantaged, but not tax-free, in that sense. So, what are your thoughts? I hope this provides you with enough food for thought and encourages you to take your retirement planning more seriously.

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Myth #6: I have other financial obligations to attend to

Depending on your age and stage of life, buying a home, paying for college, or paying off student loans and credit card debt may appear to be larger priorities right now.

Retirement contributions, on the other hand, should be a component of your financial plan regardless of your financial situation – even if you just contribute 1%, that’s money that’s going towards your future. Keep in mind that most retirement savings accounts are tax-deferred, allowing you to “protect” your money from income taxes as you save for your future.

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Myth #7: When I die, my retirement funds will automatically be managed by my spouse or partner

There’s a chance your significant other won’t see your hard-earned money if you haven’t written a living will or specified how you want your retirement accounts — and any other financial assets you hold — dispersed upon your death.

Make sure you’ve talked to a financial planner about putting together precise instructions on how to divide your assets and information about your funeral and final desires. You might use some of your retirement funds to set up a funeral trust or donate to a charity or fund of your choice.

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