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Avoiding Retirement Mistakes: The Essentials for a Secure Golden Age  Thumbnail

Avoiding Retirement Mistakes: The Essentials for a Secure Golden Age

You've spent your whole life saving for retirement and the next season of your life. This is a time when you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, travel, spend time with the grandkids, explore new hobbies, volunteer and do anything you did not get to do while working. Avoiding common retirement mistakes and pitfalls or misjudging retirement income needs is crucial for a stress-free retirement. Ensuring your retirement plan includes thoughtful estate and tax planning while steering clear of emotional investment decisions and frequent financial mistakes can set a solid foundation. We'll explore how to create a reliable safety net through diversification and the importance of regular reviews to adjust your nest egg, aiming to steer clear of the biggest retirement planning pitfalls and ensuring your social security benefits work effectively for you. 

Life expectancy is increasing, especially in Carlsbad, CA

Understanding Your Investment Time Horizon 

Understanding your investment time horizon is akin to setting the GPS for your financial journey towards retirement. It's about knowing not just your destination but also the best route to get there. The biggest mistake I see retirees make is to view retirement as the finish line instead of what it really is: the starting line of a 3 decade time in your life where you are no longer receiving a pay check. Retirees can get too conservative with their investments too soon, which means they are not able to keep up with inflation and create a rising income stream. 

  • Health and Life Expectancy: Considering advancements in healthcare, planning for a longer life is prudent. A 65-year-old couple should plan with the likelihood of at least one partner living to 90 or beyond.
  • Asset Allocation:Tailor your mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities based on your time horizon. Longer horizons can generally withstand more volatility, allowing for a heavier allocation in equities, which tend to offer higher returns over time. 
  • Risk Management: Different types of investments carry varying risks. Understanding these in relation to your time horizon helps in crafting a strategy that balances growth potential with risk tolerance. 

By carefully considering these aspects, you're not just preparing for retirement; you're ensuring a journey that's tailored to your life's goals, financial needs, and the legacy you wish to leave. 

Diversification: Your Safety Net 

In navigating the unpredictable terrain of the stock market, diversification stands as your financial safety net, ensuring that your retirement savings are shielded during volatile periods. While it’s fun to talk about your hot stock at the cocktail party, a better way to invest is to diversify broadly across many sectors, asset classes and countries in order to reduce risk. We like to use 8-10 ETF’s to give you exposure to over 10,000 securities to really spread your risk out. Here's how to strategically spread your investments: 

diversification is vital for retirement in San Diego

Asset Classes Variety:

  • Stocks for growth potential. Large cap growth, Small cap stocks, international small cap small cap 
  • Bonds for steady income. 
  • Real estate for inflation protection and income.  

Geographical Diversification:

Sector and Industry Diversification:

  • Spreading investments across various sectors (like technology, healthcare, and finance) and industries reduces the impact of sector-specific downturns. That's why we use ETFs!

Creating a diversified retirement strategy isn't just about spreading your investments; it's about smart allocation. Consider: 

  • IRA and 401(k): Utilize these for tax advantages and employer matches. 
  • Annuities: For a consistent income stream in retirement. However, these can be very expensive so be careful. Know exactly what you are getting if you choose to use an annuity. They can be complex financial instruments, often sold by unscrupulous sales people so be careful before buying one. 
  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s): Choose a mix of growth, income, aggressive growth, and international funds. Regular rebalancing ensures alignment with your risk tolerance and financial goals. 

Remember, a well-diversified portfolio is your best defense against market volatility, ensuring that your retirement planning remains on a steady course. 

Evaluating Risk Tolerance in Retirement 

Evaluating your risk tolerance is akin to setting the sails for your retirement journey. It’s crucial to align your investments with your comfort level, financial goals, and the lifestyle you envision in retirement. Factors influencing your risk tolerance include your age, financial circumstances, income growth expectations, and lifestyle goals. Again, I caution you to not get too conservative too soon in the retirement journey. Consider having at least 60%-70% of your portfolio in stock ETF’s in order to grow, create income and fight off inflation for potentially a 30 year time period. 

At Seaside, we help with risk management

Regularly revisiting your risk tolerance and adjusting your portfolio accordingly ensures that your retirement savings align with your evolving goals and financial landscape. 

Avoiding Emotional Investment Decisions 

Avoiding emotional investment decisions is crucial for maintaining the trajectory towards a secure retirement. Here are strategies to keep your investment plan objective and focused: 

  • Preemptive Planning: Be prepared for the market to be volatile. Just know this is how it works. Since 1980, we have averaged at least one market correction of 10% every year. And about every 5-10 years we get a bear market, which is defined as a decline of 20% or more. Think about 2000-2003, 2008, 2020 and 2022. These were scary times for a variety of reasons: the risk and uncertainty were high. And yet, the market has averaged about 10% returns per year in that time period. Remember, average returns are anything but average! The journey to achieve that wonderful, long-term return was fraught with perils, corrections and bear markets. And yet the path of progress has advanced and the market continued to advance with it. This is how it works! Accept it and don’t be surprised when your investments go up and down in the short term. 
  • Create a long-term investment plan. Having a clear, well-thought-out strategy helps maintain focus during periods of market volatility, ensuring you're not swayed by short-term market movements. 
  • Market Timing and Media Influence: 
    • Avoid the trap of market timing. Predicting market movements is notoriously difficult. It doesn’t work! Don’t chase the siren song of thinking you can time the market; instead, focus on your long-term investment strategy.
    • Limit exposure to financial media during market crises to prevent fear-based decision-making. Remember, sensational headlines are designed to grab attention, not provide investment advice. Turn off the TV! Go outside for a walk. Take a vacation. But stop stressing about the markets gyrations. It’s what the market does so don’t be surprised by it. 
  • Education and Professional Advice: 
    • If you can’t stand the market volatility, just give our office a call. We can talk you through whatever may be happening at the moment. Remember, we create tailored advice and investment portfolios that are customized to your unique situation, helping you stay aligned with your retirement goals and risk tolerance. 

Regular Review and Adjustment of Your Investment Plan 

Here's how to keep your retirement plan in check: 

  • Annual Check-up: 
    • We like to do annual reviews with you to see if anything has changed in your life and get all the updates that need to be reflected in your financial plan. We review your asset allocation to ensure it aligns with your current life stage and risk tolerance. 
    • We also want to verify and update beneficiaries on all accounts to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. 
  • Financial Health Evaluation: 
    • For those who are still working and preparing for their retirement journey, make sure to max out your retirement accounts and take full advantage of employer matches. 
    • Regularly estimate retirement expenses and balance them against other financial goals. 
    • Log into accounts yearly to update passwords and safeguard against fraud. 
    • Take advantage of the Seaside Portal to review your plan, ensure you are on track, securely save your important financial documents and stay organized with your finances. This helps to create peace of mind. 
  • Strategic Adjustments: 
    • We like to rebalance your investments as the market throws them out of alignment. This happens in real time whenever any asset class breaches an agreed upon level. This is a great way to control risk in the portfolio to ensure it is aligned with your goals and long term plan, ultimately ensuring you stay on track. 
    • Explore long-term care insurance to cover potential future healthcare needs. 
    • Pay attention to your tax bracket to prevent your Medicare premiums from increasing as a result of IRMAA.

Remember, retirement planning is an ongoing process that evolves with your life. Regular reviews and adjustments ensure your investments stay aligned with your retirement goals, helping you navigate towards a secure and fulfilling retirement. 


Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, see and do things you have always wanted to do and enjoy this season of your life. By paying attention to the details and avoiding retirement planning mistakes you can enjoy a worry free retirement. These strategies are not just theories but are essential practices that pave the way towards a financially secure and worry-free retirement. By adhering to these principles, you can confront the uncertainties of the future with confidence, ensuring that your golden years are not only stress-free but also fulfilling. 

The journey to retirement is filled with potential pitfalls, yet armed with the right knowledge and tools, these can be navigated successfully. Whether it's the power of compounding, the security offered by diversification, or the necessity of regular investment plan reviews, each element plays a critical role in shaping your retirement destiny. Retirement planning is an ongoing journey that demands attention, discipline, and adaptability. By committing to these practices, you foster not only financial security but also the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are well-prepared for the adventures of your golden age. 

This commentary reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Seaside Wealth Management, Inc. employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Seaside Wealth Management, Inc. or performance returns of any Seaside Wealth Management, Inc. client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing in this commentary constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Seaside Wealth Management, Inc. manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.