The Top 3 Regrets In Retirement


What usually comes to mind when you think about how you will spend your retirement? Perhaps some traveling or bucket-list experiences? Or maybe enjoying extra time at home with family? Most of the time, we look ahead with excitement, relishing the thought of slowing down and finally having all the time in the world to pursue passions and invest in relationships. But there is a lot more to planning for retirement than just counting down the days until you turn 67.

While daydreaming of fun and freedom is far more enjoyable than considering the obverse, it is important to address the details before it is too late. No one wants to reach the milestone of retirement and realize it is not all it's cracked up to be. How horrible would it be to finally retire just to suddenly wonder if you should have done things differently but feel like now it's too late? Have you considered the possibility that, if not properly prepared, you very well may regret your decision to retire? expatwealthatwork wants to help you avoid this unfortunate outcome in what should be your "golden" stage of life. We often see 3 common regrets that you should keep in mind as you prepare for your golden years.

1. Retiring Too Soon

The truth is retirement isn't always your choice. Whether you were forced to retire earlier than planned or you made the decision on your own, retiring before you are ready can end up being a source of much regret. In fact, 30% of retirees admit they would gladly re-enter the workforce if a job became available.

Financially, the earlier you retire, the fewer years you have to save and the longer you will have to live off of your retirement money. In other words, this means you have less money saved and you have to make it stretch further. It's a lose-lose situation. If you retired before age 65/67 and your finances are keeping you up at night, or you are living at a lower quality of life than you are used to, you may regret retiring when you did.

Working even a few years longer can provide these valuable benefits:

  • More time to accumulate savings
  • Health insurance coverage through your employer
  • Purpose and identity
  • Stronger mental and physical health

2. Overspending In The First Years Of Retirement

Even if you have a solid nest egg saved to carry you through retirement, you still need to exercise financial discipline to ensure your money lasts. Dipping too deep into your savings as soon as you retire could make or break your retirement dreams. Practicing self-control to resist impulse buying and frivolous spending is very important if you want to see your savings pan out as you planned them to.

However, these impetuous behaviours are not always to blame. It could be that you set a plan that sounded good on paper but just wasn't realistically flexible enough to allow for some stress-free personal spending. So, when developing your retirement plan, create a realistic retirement budget, factoring in travel or hobbies, then work with your advisor to find a withdrawal rate that will stretch your money for as long as possible.

3. Not Having A Retirement Bucket List

Free time is a major perk of retirement. However, when you go from working full-time to not working at all, it can be a shock to your system. Saying goodbye to your career, your colleagues, and your routines can cause anxiety and depression, which can lead you to develop comfort behaviours like shopping or frequently eating out. Planning ahead to fill your time with activities that will fulfil you can help to avoid the negative emotions (and reactions) that can come with this major life transition.

Do you want to know which activities typically result in a fulfilling retirement? Retirees who stay busy and active, pursue independence, and volunteer their time are satisfied with their life. 

The takeaway here is to be intentional about your time in retirement. Make a list of things you want to do, places you want to go, and people you want to spend time with. Then strategically map out the details so your goals become a reality. It is easy to lose your identity when your career ends and your social interactions dwindle. Thoughtfully filling your time and venturing out into new territory will help you build a new identity as a retiree and give you something to look forward to.

Live With No Regrets

You don't want to celebrate the incredible milestone of retirement just to wake up the next morning wondering if you made the right decision. We don't want that for you either! Deciding when and how to retire is one of the most difficult, yet vital, decisions you will make in life. You don't have to make those hard choices alone. 

If you would like to avoid facing these common regrets when you retire, reach out to us at expatwealthatwork by emailing - - to schedule your free introductory meeting. Together we will prepare for your golden years to be the best yet!