Mortgages & Creative Financing

Are You Sabotaging Your Own Retirement? Let Us Count The Ways

Expertise: Personal Development, Personal Finance, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Flipping Houses
249 Articles Written

At some point, everyone stops to contemplate their retirement. I don't mean they begin to contribute or invest in some plan, real estate or otherwise. I mean they begin to wonder if their plan is destined to provide the retirement for which it was designed in the first place. For some, this happens early on, before 45 or so. For others it happens after 50, frequently way after, which is cause for consternation with a capital C.

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Then there are those without any discernible plan in place.

Given the last five years, one might be tempted to ask how that’s been workin’ out for ’em. Below are some reasons folks retire badly or not at all.

1. You have no real plan. For Heaven’s sake, when it was your turn to have the whole family at your place this Thanksgiving, you planned for that! Guess ensuring there’s enough pie and ice cream to go around is pretty important.

2. The last time you took advantage of an expert’s knowledge and experience was last summer while fishing, when you were gettin’ shutout. Contrary to what many have convinced themselves, that library of books they’ve read does not equal decades of boots on the ground, battle hardened experience. For the sake of your retirement, grab a steamin’ cup of GetReal — then go for a refill.

3. For thousand of people, their situation is far more promising than they know. For once in their lives they should hike to the top of that nearby hill and see what’s on the other side. Frequently it’s the answer to their dilemma.

4. You’re a flipper? Before ya completely separate your shoulder from all that pattin’ yourself on the back, let me give you a glimpse of Flippin’ — The Sequel. You get an A+ in Lifestyle improvement and an F for retirement planning. The Good News? You’re makin’ six figures a year. The Bad News? You’re gonna hafta do it till ya drop. Flippin’ at 60 years old is flippin’ irritating as hell.

5. Attention all you DIY fans. We’re all so proud of what you’ve accomplished. Meanwhile the only folks you’ve outperformed are those who couldn’t do it themselves as well as you did. Those who lean on bona fide experts in the required/related fields are gonna retire light years better than you will. I see it all the time.

6. Insisting on strategies that maximize income now over capital growth when you’re 10-30 years from retirement is just ignorant. Investing for retirement has as it’s primary goal, maximum cash flow AT RETIREMENT. The more capital you’ve built, the more income it’ll generate — IN RETIREMENT.

7. Strategies reliant upon appreciation and/or increases in the NOI are beyond risky. Any capital growth should be CREATED without any dependence on either one ever happening. Paradoxically, both capital growth AND massive increases in income are GIVENS as long as the correct strategies are in place. The rest is Happy Talk.

The list, of course, is much longer. I learned #’s 2, 3, and 7 the hard way. There’s no reason for you to go through all that turmoil.

In a nutshell, BiggerPockets has been blessed by the recent efforts of Joshua Dorkin in bringing to this site incredible expertise and knowledge in the form of new contributors.  Don’t merely read them, nod your head in wise agreement, then continue down the same path on which you’ve been trodding. Talk to some of these contributors. I have, some belly to belly, in person. I added some real nuggets to my knowledge vault.

Joshua has done his part. You’ve been led, one way or the other to the well of knowledge he’s providing. There’s one thing he can’t make you do.


Stop sabotaging your own retirement. Tick tock.

Licensed since 1969, broker/owner since 1977. Extensively trained and experienced in tax deferred exchanges, and long term retirement planning.
    Ryan Hinricher
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Jeff, This was an excellent article filled with earned knowledge. I’ve learned #7 the hard way and I’m sure plenty of others have on BP as well. By focusing on yield from the start, the rest is just gravy. Great points to think about as we head into year end. Ryan
    Julie Broad
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Great article as always! My favourite line: Don’t merely read them, nod your head in wise agreement, then continue down the same path on which you’ve been trodding. Great advice …I hope people will take it to heart.
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Jeff, I loved the post. I know that my retirement was not something that I participated in until a few years ago. I took for granted that I would have enough. I mean I contributed to the 401(k) at work as well as placed additional funds into an IRA that my broker invested for me. About 2 years ago I really began to take more control of my retirement plans. And this year, I got more information about holding real estate inside an IRA from, I moved some of my old 401(k) over and have begun to really participate in my retirement by taking the lead and asking the questions and really directing my investments. I do still use a financial advisor as I feel I still need some guidance and help, but I find that I have a lot more enjoyment by being an active part of the plan and not so passive.
    Jeff Brown
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hey Sara — You’ve already done the main thing, which is to become more active than passive. Good job.
    Jeff Brown
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Hey Sara — You’ve already done the main thing, which is to become more active than passive. Good job. Reply Report comment