Who wants to work forever? Well, probably not that many of us and even if we did, we probably would like to slow down a little bit, so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labour.

I’ve been working with business owners for over 30 years helping them build up enough wealth so that they can exit their businesses and have a great retirement.

Unfortunately, though, over the years I have come across lots of mistakes that people have made. After all, we don’t know want we don’t know. This is perhaps because we are all experts in our own fields. I may be an expert in retirement planning, but if one of my engineering clients asked me about a CNC machine, I wouldn’t even know how to switch in on.

So, let’s dive in. What are the big mistakes that have come across over the last 30 years?

  • Spending too much when we are young and thinking retirement is a long way off, so you don’t need to do anything about it just yet.
  • Planning to retire too soon.The sooner you retire, the longer you will be needing an income whilst not earning any longer
  • Not having a plan. I see too many people blundering into retirement and just letting it happen to them.
  • Not knowing how much income you will spend when you retire. To be honest many of us don’t know accurately what we are spending whilst we are working, so retirement spending is especially difficult.
  • Putting or investing money into the wrong things. Some people for some reason have an aversion to conventional investing, thinking that it isn’t going to make them any money. So, they invest in odd and somewhat strange things, that are difficult to sell in the future.
  • Not taking an appropriate level of riskwhen retirement is a long way off. If retirement is a long way off, you can afford to be more speculative with your retirement savings. This is likely to make you more money in the long run.
  • Taking too much risk closure to and in retirement. Some people don’t reduce the risk that they are taking as they get closer to retirement and risk a dramatic fall in the value of their investments at the wrong time.

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  • Doubling down. For people that start saving for their retirement later in life, start to take extra-ordinary high levels of risk to catch up. This can have severe consequences if everything goes wrong.
  • Not saving in a tax efficient way. Although regarded by some with disdain, the classic pension has the most beneficial tax advantages, yet some if not many people bypass them and invest in ways that will only ever lead them in being taxed unnecessarily.
  • Withdrawing funds to help their children, when they have not secured their own future first. It’s perfectly natural to want to help our children, but this should not be at our expense that leads us into retirement with insufficient income.
  • Believing your home is your pension. We all need a home to live in, so thinking that out home is our pension, is unlikely to provide us with enough income in retirement, even if we do downsize dramatically.
  • Carrying debt into retirement. Debt can be painful and none more so than if you must keep paying for the upkeep of a mortgage in retirement.
  • Not knowing how much you can withdraw from your pension in retirement. One of the biggest dangers in retirement is spending too much of your pension pot in the early years of retirement. This can lead to running out of money.
  • Thinking property is the only answer. Property can be a great source of income, but it’s not the only way to generate an income. Not only can property be expensive to own, it can sometimes take up a great deal of time, when you’d rather been enjoying retirement.

Most financial advisers offer a free initial consultation, so it’s certainly worth speaking to one, just to hear what your options are.