6 Things You're Doing To Delay Your Retirement
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Do Your Research

Think about what you'd really like to do on your vacation and create a list to narrow your choices - whether it's hitting the beach, going shopping, climbing a mountain or visiting a museum. Consider whether you can do this somewhere nearby, or whether you know anyone who has done your chosen activities before on a similar budget. Alternatively, travel agencies or even chat rooms on the topic can provide great advice on accommodations, places to dine, things to do and tourist traps to avoid. Internet sites such as Yahoo! Travel, Expedia and Priceline are often useful when seeking reasonable fares.

Millions of senior citizens are discovering that they do not have adequate financial resources to retire. Some seniors are unable to retire due to the recent economic crisis and others due to poor financial habits. The stark truth is this: the financial decisions that you make on a daily basis have a direct impact on your financial future.

Poor financial habits will have you working longer, retiring later and finding yourself flat broke in your golden years. Here are six financial habits that could be keeping you from reaching your retirement dreams.

1. Keeping Up with the Joneses

Trying to keep up with your neighbors by owning every possession that they have will delay your retirement. One of the most effective ways to reach your retirement goals is by simply living within your means. Set your budget and stick to it. Spending too much on expensive clothing and jewelry can have you spending your golden years right beside the Joneses - in the financial poorhouse. (For more, check out Stop Keeping Up With The Joneses – They're Broke.)

2. Bad Habits

Bad habits have a way of quickly eating up your retirement savings and keeping you from your retirement goals. Smoking, drinking and gambling are expensive habits to have and the cost is only going up each year. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day will cost you $1,825 per year. Over a 50-year time period, this adds up to $91,250!

While drinking a glass of wine a day can lengthen your life expectancy, imbibing too much alcohol will kill your finances. With the average price of beer running at $4, just drinking two bottles of beer a day can cost you $56 a week. That's almost $3,000 a year that could have been used to fund your IRA.

3. Underfunding Your Retirement Plan

Poor financial planning is causing many senior citizens to work during their golden years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American has less than $50,000 in a retirement account. This includes young adults and baby boomers near retirement age. So, how can you avoid falling into the same situation? Sock away as much money as possible! Max out your contributions and plan to save more money than you think you will need so that you can survive financial emergencies.

4. Taking On Too Much Debt

The No.1 thing that keeps people from retiring is debt. Millions of Americans rack up huge amounts of debt due to auto loans, personal loans and credit cards. The Federal Reserve measured consumer debt at a whopping 2.46 trillion dollars in 2010. And that doesn't even include real estate debt! The debt problem is not just specific to the United States. Millions of U.K. baby boomers have high mortgage balances and have relatively little money in savings.

5. Investing In Depreciable Assets

Investing in depreciable assets instead of appreciable assets can leave you with nothing to show for your hard-earned money except a lot of regrets. Depreciable assets are assets that are likely to decline in value such as cars, boats, computers and machines. Instead, invest your money in appreciable assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds and annuities. These assets have the ability to appreciate, and spend their time working for you instead of against you.

6. Spending Too Much On Entertainment

Hitting the town and eating luxurious dinners night after night will eat a huge hole in your retirement savings. Entertainment expenses can be major budget busters because they are often unplanned events. How many people keep track of how much money they spend at movies, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and sporting events? Small expenses like these may go unnoticed and leave you wondering where your paycheck went.

The Bottom Line

Retirement may seem like a long ways away but it is just around the corner. Avoiding poor financial habits and making solid financial decisions for your future will leave you with more options: like sipping Mai Tais, rather than serving them. (To learn more, check out our Retirement Planning Tutorial.)

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