Retirement Planning Can Jumpstart the Ultimate Vacation

May 10th, 2017 | By | Category: Commentary

By Jennifer Landon

Jennifer Landon

Jennifer Landon

Maybe you’ve heard reports that Americans spend less time planning for retirement than they do planning their next vacation. According to a 2014 retirement survey, 39 percent of the 1,000 retirement savers polled, reported spending more than five hours researching vacation options compared to only 11 percent who reported spending that long researching investments for their 401(k)s.

It may be human nature—picturing yourself on the beach with a drink in your hand is a lot more fun than slogging through the fine print of those fund prospectuses. But as Idahoans join the rest of the country in preparing for the busy summer travel season, now’s a great time to plan what may end up being the longest vacation you’ll ever take. The following five tips will help make your dreams of a fabulous retirement come true:

Pay attention to fees. Overlooking the fees associated with your retirement investments is one of the most common retirement-planning mistakes. While it may be impossible to avoid them altogether, fees—especially those associated with 401(k)s—may be eating up more of your savings than you realize. Over the long run, these fees can really add up, so be sure to examine an investment’s fee structure before you decide to buy.

Avoid temptation. Another pitfall on the road to a comfortable retirement involves debt. Saving as much as you can during your working years is great, but a budget shortfall along the way may tempt you to dip into your retirement accounts—something you should avoid at all costs. If you’re paying more in interest on debt than you’re earning on your retirement accounts, you’re heading in the wrong direction. Start by avoiding or paying off high-interest debt, then set up an emergency fund so your retirement portfolio can grow untapped.

Diversify, diversify, diversify. Ignore this investing mantra at your peril. To protect yourself against devastating losses in the event of a market downturn, make sure you don’t hold too much of any one type of asset. A disproportionate stake in real estate, for example, exposes you to risk should there be another credit crisis. Spreading your investment portfolio among assets and asset classes is the best way to insure against a precipitous drop.

Rebalance regularly. Part of making sure you’re adequately diversified involves a periodic review of your portfolio. If one asset class has had a big run, you may need to sell some holdings in order to bring your portfolio back into balance. The ideal balance will be determined by your time horizon. If you’re five or fewer years away from retirement, you may want to take a more defensive approach and limit your exposure to risk. If you’re at least 10 years away from retirement, you have more time to recover should something go awry. The further away from retirement you are, the greater your flexibility, and you may decide to take a flier on that hot new investment idea.

Insure against disaster. If you have loved ones depending on you, you really ought to consider life insurance. You’d be wise to make sure your family is provided for in the event something should happen to you. If you already have a policy, take a moment to review it and make sure you’re still happy with the coverage. Perhaps adjustments, such as adding an inflation or long-term care rider, are in order. If there have been changes to your family, you may need to update your beneficiaries. The peace of mind insurance provides is invaluable, and your beneficiaries will thank you for taking steps to protect them.

Everyone loves a vacation, and planning for one can be half the fun. And the same can be said of planning for retirement. It doesn’t have to be a chore. So, go ahead and pack your bags for that dream getaway, but make sure you also plan for that ultimate vacation.
About Jennifer Landon, Southeast Idaho’s Financial Educator

Jennifer Landon, founder and president of Journey Financial Services, is an accomplished advisor, educator and presenter on financial topics. Landon has spent the last decade advising Idaho Falls residents on the wealth and retirement planning strategies needed to help them achieve peace of mind on their retirement journey. She is an Investment Advisor Representative and a licensed life and health insurance professional in the state of Idaho. Landon is a member of Ed Slott’s Master Elite IRA Advisor Group, the National Ethics Association (NEA) and the Better Business Bureau. For more information about Jennifer Landon and Journey Financial Services, please call (208) 552-9169 or visit
Jennifer Landon is an Investment Advisor Representative with Allegis Investment Advisors LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. 591 Park Avenue ste.101 Idaho Falls, ID 83402.

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