Weekend Reading: 10 Surprising Differences Between Retirement Saving & Spending

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading retirement saving and spending Weekend reading retirement saving and spending
Weekend Reading

For many, the concept of retirement accumulation and retirement decumulation might feel hemispheres apart.


Shifting your money mindset: For decades of your life, you’re encouraged to save, budget and minimize debt. When you reach retirement, however, it might seem like you’ve entered foreign ground. Not only do you face the challenge of ensuring your lifelong savings mirror your longevity, but you also must create an income strategy which factors in the timing and magnitude of your withdrawals throughout retirement.

In fact, leading retirement research explains that the biggest risk to your retirement is not being able to mentally make the shift from accumulation to decumulation, and adjusting your strategy to fit current circumstances. By educating yourself on the challenges you might face during this transition ahead of time, though, you can create more financial confidence. Of the ten differences listed here, three include:

📌Taxes – While saving for retirement, you often follow the “defer taxes” mantra; however, if you defer taking income from qualified accounts for too long once retired, you could face a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) tax trap, followed by higher Social Security benefit taxes and IRMAA surcharges for Medicare.

📌Market swings – When in accumulation mode, market swings don’t affect you as much, especially when you have an extended period of time left until retirement. But once you enter retirement, market volatility can result in disastrous emotional reactions that cause you to make poor financial decisions.

📌The definition of ROI – Your ROI might be “Return on Investment” during your decades of saving, but it should shift to “Reliability of Income” when you then count on that income to last the rest of your lifetime.

Prepare for uncharted territory: Your financial experience in retirement will require you to keep your eyes and mind wide open. This will be a completely different experience with all new obstacles and opportunities that you may have never considered during your accumulation years.