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1. Aggressive investment strategies

After decades of aggressively accumulating capital, it can be difficult to adopt a more conservative investment strategy and “wealth-preservation” mindset.

A survey found that nearly one-third of Americans over the age of 50 invested in volatile cryptocurrencies as part of their early retirement plan. One in five retirees over the age of 85 have their entire portfolio in stocks, which is considered risky by most financial advisors, according to a Vanguard survey.

This is risky behavior at any age, but is particularly dangerous for seniors living on retirement savings, pension plans or Social Security benefits. It took stocks roughly four years to recover from the 2008 crash and Bitcoin is still trading well below its 2021 peak. If you’re nearing or in retirement, you don’t want to be waiting years to recoup major losses.

Retirement is an opportunity to shift away from volatile, higher-risk investment strategies to reliable, income-producing strategies. Shifting to bonds and fixed income securities, asset-backed funds and real estate could be a better way to preserve wealth and secure your lifestyle as you transition out of the workforce.

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2. A predictable health care budget

As you age, the chances that you’ll find yourself in a hospital emergency room or doctor’s clinic rise substantially. In fact, 92% of seniors have at least one chronic condition, while 77% have two or more, according to the American Psychological Association.

And nearly two-thirds of bankruptcies are caused by medical expenses, making it the leading cause of financial ruin for people in the U.S., according to RetireGuide.

Despite these worrying numbers, studies show millions of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover even a small emergency expense without going into debt.

This is why financial experts like Suze Orman recommend regularly contributing to an emergency fund for unexpected costs that may arise both now and in retirement.

3. The typical tax plan

Traditional tax plans are designed for income-earning adults. But what happens when you retire and your income stops? What happens when you derive less income from work and much more from other sources such as dividends or income from a rental property?

Tax-planning for retirement years can get complex. Instead of income taxes, you’ll likely need to prepare to pay taxes on any social security benefits as well as some of your investments.

If you’re wealthy, your retirement tax plan also needs a new layer that wasn’t needed before: estate planning. A 2023 study from senior living site Caring.com shows that despite a 3% increase over 2022 in Americans who have an estate plan, only 34% of Americans have an estate plan and 46% of Americans over the age of 55 have a will.

If you do have a will, any assets or money you leave behind is subject to applicable taxes. While only people with more than $12.92 million in assets would be subject to a federal estate tax ranging from 18% to 40%, it is worth noting that 17 states and the District of Columbia also have either an estate or inheritance tax.

Other changes to your tax plan might include complex strategies such as setting up a Roth conversion ladder. Not only are these tax plans complicated, they’re also subject to change over the years.

It’s worth considering finding an financial adviser or accountant who can guide you through the changing tax landscape so you can ensure everything is in order and you have peace of mind while you enjoy your golden years.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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