The Biggest Risk Facing Your Retirement: Procrastination

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There are many risks that we all face when it comes to retirement. Economic crises, the risk of outliving your savings, and healthcare emergencies are all major concerns. We don’t have control over them however we try to plan around them.  The single biggest risk you face as a saver is very different: procrastination. This is something we have complete control over, however we often act as though we don’t.  Postponing actions like transferring your old 401(k) into a Rollover IRA or revisiting an old IRA directly affects the security of your retirement later on.

The Problem: Procrastination

It can take years for someone to take the initiative to roll over their old 401(k) or reallocate their IRA. In those years their portfolios often stagnate, resulting in an unbalanced investment mix and the potential for the account to languish in the years to come. Unfortunately, avoiding action in these situations can make it increasingly difficult for you to meet basic goals like retiring at 65.

What makes it worse is that many people know they aren’t prepared to retire on time. According to a recent survey by Towers Watson, 46% of workers over age 50 are planning to delay retirement. The majority expect to delay retirement by 3 years, and a third expect to delay by 5 years. As surprising as this is, it makes sense when you consider that only 33 percent of these workers were satisfied with their financial situation.

Being aware that you are not preparing for retirement and taking action to rectify this are two very different things. This is especially true when you become worried about your financial health or think that it’s too time consuming to deal with right now. The result is often a long period of uncertainty, procrastination, and a stagnating portfolio.

The Solution: Take it One Step at a Time

In reality, tackling your retirement strategy does not have to be difficult. If you have a financial advisor, he or she can and should do most of the work for you when it comes to rolling accounts over, building an investment strategy, and investing the account. All you need to do is talk to your advisor to get the ball rolling.

I know that for many people, this can feel similar to starting a new diet or quitting smoking. It’s something you know you want to do but it is really difficult to take action on. However, unlike a diet, you only have to roll over that old 401(k) once, and professional help makes it just a phone call away. Take action today, and I’ll bet you’ll feel great about both yourself and your future.

To keep your IRA healthy over the long run, create an active, professionally managed portfolio which adapts to reflect changes in your life and the markets. In my opinion, this is one way to steer your retirement towards a happy ending. As a doctor might tell his or her patient, small steps in the right direction can have a big effect over the long run – only with your retirement savings, there is no calorie counting required!

Focus on the Big Picture

It’s important to remember how critical the big picture is to your financial health. I’ve seen many clients who have various aspects of their financial lives in good order but avoid the retirement question entirely. Remember to keep your eye on the big picture. Retirement is far away and worrisome, so it’s easy to forget about, however, it’s also incredibly important to plan for right now. The more time you waste, the worse off you’ll probably be, so take time right now to call your advisor and take those first steps in rolling over your old 401(k) or waking up your dormant IRA. Your retired self will thank you for it!


To learn about retirement savings, download my free eBook, “10 Tips You Need to Know About Your IRA Rollover.” This short book is packed with critical information that will help you make the right decisions about your retirement savings.

Written by Bradford Pine
Bradford Pine Wealth Group – New York City Financial Advisors

The views and opinions expressed in an article or column are the author’s own and not necessarily those of Cantella & Co., Inc. It was prepared for informational purposes only. It is not an official confirmation of terms. It is based on information generally available to the public from sources believed to be reliable but there is no guarantee that the facts cited in the foregoing material are accurate or complete.

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