It’s open enrollment time, and since stats annually show retirement plan participation holds steady at around 75%, I’m sure part of your enrollment communications includes a push to get holdouts into your defined contribution plan.

To help you make the case and keep plan participants from falling flat due to financial tripwires, the folks at offer their list of five common mistakes that people make when retirement planning that can greatly affect their golden years. Copy, paste, print and distribute as you will.

1. Retiring with too much debt.

Financial planners generally recommend not retiring until credit card, mortgage and other forms of debt are paid off. These monthly payments can quickly cut into savings, which will be paying for past expenditures — plus interest and current expenses.

2. Not buying enough insurance.

Although people over age 65 are eligible for Medicare, they still will have additional health care costs that are not covered. Depending on coverage, premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, eyeglass coverage, hearing aids or long-term nursing home care for longer than 100 days may or may not be covered.

3. Not taking inflation into account.

Inflation will slowly decrease the spending power of savings. However, there are steps that can be taken to avoid this. Social Security, some annuities and pensions are adjusted for inflation annually. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are a government bond that promises a rate of return that exceeds inflation.

4. Depending on one source of income.

A certified financial planner may recommend having four to six sources of retirement income rather than counting on just one. By diversifying, retirees can avoid losing all their income if one source loses value. Guaranteed sources can include Social Security, pensions and annuity payments. Other common sources can be 401(k), IRA, CDs, personal investments, cash investments, rental properties and royalty income.

5. Not protecting savings.

About five to 10 years before retiring, people should start to focus more on protecting their savings rather than growing them. People can reduce risk by shifting assets to more conservative investments, avoiding borrowing or taking early withdrawals and minimizing fees and taxes deducted from savings. More funds should be placed in low-cost investments and traditional and Roth retirement accounts.

There you have it, pros. Any other must-do or must-don’t action items you’d add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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