For Mark Roberts’ Use: If you read our blogs regularly, you know that we’re constantly reminding you that you can’t depend upon Social Security as your entire retirement income. That means you’re responsible for setting up an income that will sustain you once you stop working… which can lead to an awful lot of pressure and anxiety.

Unfortunately, that pressure can cause people to make some drastic errors in judgment. As you continue to work and plan for retirement, remember to avoid these mistakes, no matter how anxious you might be feeling.

Thinking in the short term, rather than the long term. Most of the time, investing should be viewed from a long-term perspective. Panicking and selling stocks due to a short-term drop in the market, or avoiding opportunities that could lead to long, but slow gains, are two common mistakes. Most of the time it is not possible to make a large amount of money in a short time, at least not without taking on considerable risk. Try not to get into a rush and make desperate decisions that can backfire.

Getting too competitive. Some people are naturally competitive, and become too focused on “beating” everyone around them – to their own detriment! This sense of competition can even extend to non-person entities, such as a desire to “beat the market”. Remember, your primary goal is to establish a secure income for retirement, not win an imaginary investing contest of some kind.

Borrowing from yourself. Again, remember to think in the long term. A short-term goal, like a new house, is certainly worthwhile. But if you have to borrow money from your retirement fund to accomplish it, think again. It’s not worth sacrificing your long-term security. Borrowing from yourself is almost always a mistake, because you can’t make up for lost time.

Failing to rebalance. Yes, in most cases you should be sticking with a long-term strategy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t analyze the market and shift things around periodically. Just because a strategy works for a few years, doesn’t mean it will continue to work forever. It’s important to work closely with your financial planner, to anticipate market changes and adjust your strategy to your best advantage.

Not working with a professional. And that brings us to our last point. Working with a professional is the best way to anticipate future problems as well as opportunities. Remember to meet with us regularly, so that we can help you adjust your financial plans to best achieve your goals.