Retirement-killing money mistakes

Misguided miserly behavior

Needless penny-pinching can lead to just as miserable a retirement as being broke. “One of the biggest mistakes I often see is when a retired person or couple thinks they will outlive their money and conserve what they have by denying any pleasure that one should expect in retirement," says Russell D. Francis of Portland Fixed Income Specialists in Beaverton, Ore. "They have plenty of money to live the reminder of their lives but are unwilling to take a nice vacation or otherwise spend it on themselves." Fear is clearly at work here. Frugal habits forged during decades of hard work and saving can also be hard to change. Anthony Webb of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says this most often manifests itself as a “natural aversion to drawing down capital” taken too far. “Nobody wants to be 90 years old and broke, but it really is OK to dip into your capital as you age at a prudent rate," Webb says.

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