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The Top 3 Financial Mistakes We See

Cypress Wealth Services

March 2021

We all make mistakes. Whether it’s forgetting to pick up the groceries or sending the wrong version of a report to a coworker, we usually troubleshoot the error and move on. But financial mistakes are a lot harder to swallow and can be difficult to recover from.

That’s why knowledge is power when it comes to avoiding financial mistakes. The more you know, the better prepared you are to make the right decisions and be proactive about your financial future. On that note, here are three common financial mistakes we’ve seen over the years and how you can prevent them from wreaking havoc on your finances.

1. Beneficiary Designation

Far too often, people designate beneficiaries on their accounts and then forget about it. The issue is that when life changes, we neglect to review our accounts and update our beneficiaries. This simple oversight can cause confusion and frustration when the account owner passes away. We have seen everything from deceased family members to ex-spouses on accounts such as life insurance policies and retirement plans. The easy way to address this issue is to review your beneficiaries on file every year or every couple of years at a minimum.

Another similar mistake is forgetting to name a transfer on death (TOD) designation on non-retirement accounts not owned by a trust. Retirement accounts have a section for designating beneficiaries and non-retirement accounts like brokerage and checking accounts owned by a trust allow beneficiary designation through the trust. But non-retirement accounts owned by an individual must have a transfer on death (TOD) registration established for the account. A TOD allows beneficiaries to receive a person’s non-retirement accounts upon an individual’s death without going through probate. This simple step can help save money, time, and frustration.

2. Not Knowing Your Numbers

It’s difficult to successfully save for retirement and build a retirement income plan to last the rest of your life when you don’t know how much you need to pay your bills. While you don’t need to create a budget down to the penny, it’s critical that you brainstorm how much you will need to maintain your lifestyle when you aren’t receiving a regular paycheck from your employer.

This amount should include necessities, such as the mortgage on your full-time residence, utility bills, grocery bills, and medical expenses, as well as discretionary spending, including travel, eating out, entertainment, and vacation home expenses.

Without having a firm grasp of your spending in both of these categories, you will not be able to develop a comprehensive retirement plan that will show you how much you need to save before retirement and safely withdraw after retirement.

3. Taking Unnecessary Risks 

We also advise our clients to not engage in unnecessary risks and to keep focused on their long-term financial and retirement goals. Risking a lot for a little is a financial game that rarely turns out in favor of the investor. Don’t get caught up in the headlines and let the market roller coaster cause you to make emotional decisions with your money.

Remember that creating wealth is more about forming great habits and instilling long-term financial discipline than picking a great stock that makes you wealthy overnight.

Retire With Confidence

Making the right financial decisions at the right time can be difficult, but it’s important to mitigate risk by incorporating good financial habits and knowledge into your financial plan. Mistakes happen, but don’t let avoidable financial mistakes ruin your retirement. Let Cypress Wealth Services help you evaluate your current strategies and brainstorm potential areas for improvement. Contact one of our offices or call 866.888.6563 today.


About Cypress Wealth Services

Cypress Wealth Services is an independent RIA firm providing financial planning and investment management to high net worth individuals, families, business owners, and institutions. Cypress Wealth Services comprises professionals with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience and qualifications. Cypress Wealth Services is uniquely qualified to serve a broad range of client needs, and their experience and expertise act as a foundation for their client service process. The firm uses The Second Growth, which focuses on efficiently protecting, growing, and transferring to their loved ones the wealth and legacy a person has already built. With financial advisors in Palm Desert, CA, Tustin, CA, and Anchorage, AK, the firm serves clients across the country in Wealth Management Services, Fiduciary Services, 401(k) Design and Management, Investment Reporting Services, Financial and Retirement Planning, and more. For more information, visit or call 760.834.7250.