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8 Ways Middle-Class People Become Poor in Retirement

Fabio Camandona / iStock/Getty Images
Fabio Camandona / iStock/Getty Images

After working for most of your adult life, the last thing you want to do is stress about your finances and pay hefty bills in your golden years. You want to enjoy your retirement after committing to a career and waiting so long to exit the workforce.

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GOBankingRates reached out to experts for advice on what soon-to-be retirees should look out for to avoid struggling financially later on.

Here’s what they say are the different ways middle-class people become poor in retirement.

PeopleImages / iStock/Getty Images
PeopleImages / iStock/Getty Images

Underestimating Retirement Expenses

“Many middle-class individuals may underestimate how much money they’ll need in retirement,” said Taylor Kovar, a certified financial planner (CFP) and CEO/founder of 11 Financial.


“They might prioritize immediate expenses or simply not have enough left over to save for the future,” Kovar added.

Do your research and consider working with a financial professional to ensure you’re prepared for your various expenses. You don’t want to be surprised when you see how much you’re spending.

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Doucefleur / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Doucefleur / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Not Saving Enough For Retirement

“Unexpected financial setbacks like job loss or medical emergencies can eat into savings, making it difficult to build a substantial retirement nest egg,” warned Kovar.

One of the biggest issues with retirement planning is not saving enough to cover expenses for the remainder of your life.

“Many individuals do not save enough for retirement due to high living expenses, debt, or underestimating the amount of money they will need,” explained Liam Hunt, director at

Hunt added, “Without adequate savings, retirees may find their funds depleting faster than anticipated, especially as life expectancies increase.”

If you don’t have sufficient funds to cover your expenses, you could risk feeling poor as you struggle to get by.

Try This: 6 Reasons the Poor Stay Poor and Middle Class Doesn’t Become Wealthy

NoDerog / Getty Images/iStockphoto
NoDerog / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Not Diversifying Their Income

According to Kovar, “Relying solely on one source of income, such as a pension or Social Security, can be risky because these sources might not provide enough to cover all expenses in retirement.”

You’ll want to diversify your income streams with investments, rental income or even a part-time gig to have more stability in retirement.

SDI Productions / Getty Images
SDI Productions / Getty Images

Unexpected Healthcare Costs

With age, the cost of healthcare only becomes more expensive. Regular and unexpected visits can quickly drain your savings if you’re unprepared.

“Without adequate health insurance or a plan to cover medical costs, retirees may struggle to afford necessary treatments and medications, leading to financial hardship,” warned Kovar.

While predicting future health concerns is difficult, you want to do your best to ensure you have the funds to cover medical bills. You’ll eat away at your nest egg without factoring in medical costs.

pcess609 /
pcess609 /

Market Volatility

While investing in the stock market can provide high returns over time, Kovar warns that it also comes with its share of inherent risks, such as market volatility and economic downturns.

“Middle-class individuals may not have the knowledge or resources to navigate these risks effectively,” Kovar continued, “leading to losses in their retirement portfolios…”

Depending on your retirement portfolio and external economic factors, you may face financial hardships due to unforeseen circumstances. While you can’t control the market, you can control how you invest.

Discover More: I’m a Financial Advisor: Here’s Why My Rich Clients Identify With the Middle Class

PixelsEffect /
PixelsEffect /

Poor Investment Choices

“Poor investment choices and the lack of a diversified portfolio can expose retirement savings to unnecessary risk,” said Hunt.

While a higher risk tolerance is expected at a young age, older adults should focus on mitigating risk. Bad investments can leave you feeling poor and stressed about covering your expenses.

It’s important to be mindful of investment scams as well. As the old adage goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you find yourself in a situation like this, seek out advice from a trusted financial expert to avoid putting your life savings in the wrong hands.

sefa ozel /
sefa ozel /

Not Planning For Inflation

“Another significant issue is the failure to account for inflation and the rising cost of living,” explained Hunt.

“What may seem like a robust retirement fund now can lose its purchasing power over time,” Hunt continued, “reducing the retiree’s ability to maintain their standard of living. It’s particularly concerning for fixed-income sources that don’t adjust or keep pace with inflation.”

As we’ve all noticed in the last few years, inflation can increase the prices of everything around us. When you create a retirement budget, you must consider that prices will increase over time and adjust your budget accordingly.

shapecharge / Getty Images
shapecharge / Getty Images

Not Creating a Comprehensive Spending Plan

Without a retirement plan that includes a budget, withdrawal strategy and consideration for taxes, Hunt said it’s easy for “individuals to overspend in the early years of retirement, leaving them financially vulnerable later on.”

A comprehensive plan ensures you can fund your retirement lifestyle without sacrifice. Creating one before retirement gives you more time to adjust and change as your life dictates.

“Addressing these issues requires early and careful planning, education on financial management and, most importantly, consulting with financial advisors to create a tailored retirement strategy,” concluded Hunt.

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This article originally appeared on 8 Ways Middle-Class People Become Poor in Retirement