One of the primary reasons that people come to us as financial advisers is to find out if, and when, they can retire. And you know something? Often times, just the very thought of retirement can cause worry for people… and this can leave them overwhelmed and under-prepared. I’ve seen people both old and young making different mistakes when it comes to their retirement planning, but the biggest mistake I often come across is this: they’re starting their retirement planning too late.

Many people say that you should start investing early, and saving early, because you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of compounding and dollar-cost averaging. And yes – that much is true. But what about starting your retirement planning early? That’s something I don’t hear people talk about nearly enough.

Someone in their late 60s, who’s just retired or is about to retire, does have options available to them – but often times not nearly as many options as they might have had if they’d come to see us just a few years earlier. Maybe they’re already taking their Social Security; maybe they’ve got most of their money in tax-deferred accounts, and they’re staring large RMDs right in the face; maybe they’ve already moved their money out of their company’s 401(k) plan. In some cases, they could be making exactly the wrong move. If they’d come to see us earlier, maybe we would have recommended postponing taking their Social Security, or doing some Roth conversions to help avoid the sting of those RMDs, or keeping some of their money in the 401(k).

Of course, these situations are hypothetical, and everyone’s case is different. But if you make the mistake of waiting too long to plan for retirement, it might be too late to do the proper tax planning, too late to make changes to your pension, and too late to make a plan for Social Security. And yes – waiting just a couple of years too long can make a big difference in your planning strategy.

So the bottom line is this – waiting too long to start could do some real harm to your retirement plan. Give us a call and talk with one of our Lucia Capital Group advisors about your own individual situation, and let’s just see where you stand. We’re here to help.

Dollar Cost Averaging does not assure a profit and does not protect against a loss in declining markets and involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities. Investors should consider their financial ability to continue their purchases through periods of low price levels.

Withdrawal of earnings from Roth IRAs prior to a 5-year holding period and/or age 59 1/2 are subject to ordinary income tax and a 10% penalty tax. When converting funds from an IRA to a Roth IRA, the conversion amount will be taxed as ordinary income tax.

Information presented should not be considered specific tax, legal, or investment advice. You should always seek counsel of the appropriate advisor prior to making any investment decision. All investments are subject to risk including the loss of principal.

There is no guarantee that any investing or financial planning strategy will be profitable, provide protection from loss or meet its stated objectives. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protection from loss.

No client or prospective client should assume that the information contained herein (or any component thereof) serves as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized advice from Lucia Capital Group, its investment adviser representatives, affiliates or any other investment professional.

Raymond J. Lucia Jr. is Chairman of Lucia Capital Group, a registered investment advisor and CEO of its affiliated broker/dealer, Lucia Securities, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.