Top 10 Mistakes When Planning for Retirement

#10 No Plan for Retirement

by David D. Holland


We’ve come to the last “Mistake” in my 10-part series. You’d probably expect it to be difficult for me to offer a succinct explanation for why you should take the time to plan your retirement. Given the subject’s complexity and my tendency to over articulate (just ask my wife), I would understand your skepticism. Actually, I can give you all the reasons you need to build a plan in just two words: financial independence. Period. That’s it!


Cheap, well-run mutual funds could be a step in the right direction. Not giving money you might need to your kids, that, too, would be prudent. Planning ahead for long-term care is another smart move. Adjusting for future inflation, getting better interest on your money, reducing portfolio risk through diversification, avoiding dollar-cost-ravaging, and putting some of your money in a safe place – as we’ve seen in previous columns – these are all essential to your own version of financial independence.

Just as a conductor directs an orchestra, a financial plan can serve to coordinate the different parts of your finances so they harmonize to produce a beautiful “symphony” of lifetime income. A well-conceived plan can help you to:
1. Avoid the threats that could drain finances and crush retirement dreams
2. Get the income you need from financial assets during your lifetime
3. Efficiently leave any remaining assets to your heirs and beneficiaries


You can build a financial plan in more than one way, including doing it yourself. While it may seem self-serving, I recommend hiring an adviser to help. An experienced professional can be aware of products and strategies that get the work done more efficiently. About a year ago, I decided to re-paint a bathroom in my house. I stopped halfway. The paint didn’t look as good as the sample. It didn’t go on evenly. It was taking way too long. It was a mess. The bathroom remained half-finished for six months until my wife (thankfully) ran out of patience and hired a handyman. He had it painted beautifully in a just few hours. I was glad to pay him for his expertise, and I’ve hired him for several other projects since then.

With the completion of this series, I will leave you with these two questions: “Is financial independence important to you?” And if so, “How do you want to tackle one of the most important projects in your life?”



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David D. Holland, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, hosts a weekday radio show at 9AM on AM1380 Ormond Beach, AM1230 New Smyrna Beach and AM1490 Deland. He has also authored two books in his Confessions of a Financial Planner series. Holland offers investment advice through Holland Advisory Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser in Ormond Beach. He can be contacted at (386) 671-7526. Email your financial questions to