Regrets Black

Do you have retirement regrets? If so you are not alone.

I came across a retirement forum recently. One of the questions posed on the forum was “What would you do differently?”

There were many responses. As of today there were 51 total responses. Apparently, a lot of people look back on what they did and wish they had done it differently. The regrets range from “Wish I had started saving earlier” to “I should have married a rich woman.”

There were some retirement regrets that kept reappearing. I have listed those below with some additional regrets that I found either interesting or very important. They included:

  1. Wish I had learned to budget / save/ invest
  2. I wish I had learned to cook
  3. Should have taken advantage of employer retirement plans (401k’s)
  4. I should have started saving earlier
  5. I would save more and spend less
  6. Wish I had maxed out investments in 401k and Roth IRA
  7. Should have done things I wanted while I was still physically able
  8. If I could do it again I would pay off my mortgage before retiring
  9. I wish I had sought help from an investment professional to help determine my proper asset allocation and risk tolerance
  10. I should have bought more long-term care insurance coverage while I was younger and it was more affordable
  11. I should have chosen the 100% survivor benefit on my pension so my wife would have a more secure retirement after I’m gone
  12. I should have done a better job prioritizing my wants vs my needs

A lot of these regrets included “financial” mistakes, such as investing, saving, paying off debt, and protecting assets. But other regrets were certainly non-financial, such as enjoying life while I’m still healthy, and learning to cook.

Life (And Retirement) Is About More Than Money

This serves as a good reminder that retirement is not all about the financial side of life. Money is just a means to an end, to help you enjoy the important things in life. The goal for most people is not to see how much money you can accumulate. The goal for most people is not to die the richest person amongst all your friends.

Instead it is all about finding out what is most important to you and then trying to achieve that goal. Yes, it will probably take money to achieve your goals. That’s just the reality.

But since that is the reality it is so important that you financially plan for your retirement. It is important to align your financial life with your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

You need to have a portfolio that meets your investment objectives and goals. If you can’t stomach wildly volatile investment results, you may not want a highly aggressive portfolio that has the potential for the highest returns. You may always be worried about how your money is doing. Is my portfolio up or down today? Did I lose money in last week’s stock market drop?

Let me ask you something:

“How can you focus on the important things in retirement if you have your money being managed in a way that constantly keeps you worried?”

What I have found from most of my clients is they are not concerned about having a portfolio that grows as much as possible. They understand that to have the potential for stronger growth in their portfolio they must take on more risk. And many of my clients do not want a lot of risk in their portfolios.

What most people want is to do the best they can with the money that they have, so that they can enjoy some good investing and be able to focus on the important things in retirement. The “important things” are different for everybody, but they usually include:

  • Spending time with the kids and grandkids
  • Traveling
  • Giving to charities they strongly believe in
  • Being in control of how they spend their day (in other words, not having to be somewhere like a full-time job every Monday thru Friday)
  • Being able to afford their hobbies i.e. golfing, boating, etc.
  • Having time to volunteer and help out the less fortunate
  • Not having to worry about money so I can relax and do whatever I want

You may (and probably do) have different values / goals that I have not included in that list. That’s fine of course. And having a good financial plan in place is essential to help you achieve your goals.

As we are beginning this new year, it is a good time to think about the goals that are most important to you. Prioritize them. Then think about what it would take to achieve those goals. What type of saving / budgeting / investing will it take? What level of income in retirement will it take? How much of a nest egg will I need to meet my goals?

These are some of the important questions to ask yourself when planning for retirement. These are also the important questions to ask yourself when you are planning to accomplish important goals. 


If you need help putting together a retirement plan, you can schedule a 20 minute phone conversation with me to ask me any questions. You can get on my calendar by CLICKING HERE. I’ll help point you in the right direction.

In your service,

Chris Hammond


P.S. If you want to read the forum post I referenced in this article, please visit: