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Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of Your Retirement Savings

Here are a few strategies to help you prepare for retirement in the midst of a fluctuating economy.

Retirement is one of the most emotional and stressful life changes a person can face. The events that may come with retirement—selling your home and re-locating, managing health issues and living on a fixed income—can produce behaviors that defy logic. But as you near retirement, making a snap decision is the last thing you want to do. Here are a few strategies to help you prepare for retirement in the midst of a fluctuating economy:

Think long-term about your retirement. It’s hard to resist being influenced by economic news and events, but the key is to let rational thinking rule your decision making when it comes to money. For example, if you experience a bad day at the office and you're eligible to retire, you may decide to retire early. But taking a deep breath or sleeping on it will help you better think about the big picture and usually leads to a better solution. Thinking through each financial decision carefully, and getting objective advice from someone you trust, will empower you to make the best decision for your future.

Don’t become engrossed in day-to-day market activity. This one thing is certain: markets rise and markets fall. If you are planning to retire, or are in retirement, now is not the time to try and beat the market at its own game. To minimize the impact financial swings might have on your retirement, determine your appropriate risk tolerance and stick to it. You can always readjust you’re your portfolio, but try not to react in a panic at the sight of a market downturn. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you identify investments that are appropriate for your risk tolerance level to help you keep your financial goals and plans on track despite economic swings.

Consider contingency plans. It may be counter-intuitive to think about the negative what-if scenarios, but examining a possible future without your spouse or thinking about how you would manage a life-threatening health issue is especially important as you enter retirement. Along with these scenarios, consider how a major economic event like a recession or high inflation may impact your retirement savings. Then create a plan to protect your financial security as much as possible in these circumstances. By doing a bit of contingency planning now, you can make the best retirement decisions for you and your family members.

Anticipate what retirement looks like for you. Write down your thoughts about what will happen during an average week in your life as a retiree. Having a solid idea of what you picture your retirement to be like can lead you to maintain a calm mindset when you’re worried about your short-term finances. Working towards a few specific retirement lifestyle goals may help you stay focused on the long-term and avoid making emotional decisions with your money. To help with this, think about some goals you have for your retirement that don’t come with a large expense like volunteering or spending more time with your grandkids.

Don’t let your emotions push logic aside when planning and saving for retirement. Minimize highly emotional decisions by communicating frequently with your spouse or other trusted confidante and consider working with a financial professional who can help you maintain a long-term vision of your current financial situation and goals for the future.

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Due to industry regulations, I cannot respond to your questions and comments underneath my blog, but please feel free to contact me directly via email at Steven.B.Gross@ampf.com or via phone at 914-923-6490 ext. 310. This communication is published in the United States for residents of New York only; and this advisor is licensed only in the states of PA, CT, MD, GA, NJ, NC, FL, MA, ME.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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