CHICAGO -- Despite the best of intentions, retirees tend to make the same money mistakes over and over and over again.
Repeating the same scenario isn't all unpleasant, as Bill Murray discovered while endlessly reliving Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa. You can learn to play the piano, speak French, ice sculpt, go out to a lot of nice dinners, and more.
But eventually you're going to run into trouble if you don't break the pattern of financial neglect. The money simply may not hold up in the long run.
It's time to wake up and address your errors before you get stuck in your own bad-money time warp.
A discussion of seven common retiree mistakes and how to avoid them:
Treasury bonds, certificates of deposit and other savings instruments with scant yields can give retirees a false sense of security. They guarantee some income, however small, and can provide soothing protection from dizzying stock market volatility. But they don't provide even a fighting chance to keep up with inflation in the long term.
Most financial planners say the safer move for the long haul is to devote a healthy portion of your portfolio to stocks.
Fix: A rough guideline for asset allocation is to own a percentage in stocks equal to 110 or 120 minus your age. In other words, a 70-year-old would have 40 or 50 percent of her investment portfolio in stocks.
Failing to create a financial or estate plan isn't just a matter of missing out on investment opportunities or tax advantages. It can get you in trouble later in retirement when you're no longer at the top of your game mentally.
About half the population over 80 suffers from significant cognitive impairment. And a decline in financial and investing skills can start much earlier.
Fix: Prepare thorough financial and estate plans and discuss future aging-related scenarios with an adviser.
n"Bailing out the kids.
It's possible to be too selfless and charitable in retirement if it means putting your own financial security at risk.
Some seniors contribute to down payments for their children's first homes even though they're struggling to fund their own retirements. Others stretch to pay for the college expenses of a child or grandchild.
Fix: Put your financial needs in retirement first.
n"Paying too much in taxes.
Retirees usually are in lower tax brackets than in their working years. But they often fail to make adjustments that could lower their taxes.
Putting off taking withdrawals from an individual retirement account until they are required at age 70½ also can be costly. That's because such amounts are taxable and often bump retirees into a higher tax bracket. A plan of gradual withdrawals starting in your 60s can be a more effective strategy.
Fix: Have a plan to minimize the tax impact of withdrawals, keep your receipts for volunteering costs, don't miss out on any deductions.
n"Following financial advice from friends and family.
Many seniors living on fixed income wouldn't consider paying a planner to help organize their finances. But enlisting a financial professional can pay off in the long run.
Stocks, bonds, budgeting, IRAs, insurance -- seniors routinely act on guidance from their friends and family. Not only is that risky, the willingness to follow off-the-cuff advice increases their vulnerability to financial scams targeting the elderly.
Fix: Validate any advice from friends and family with objective materials from somewhere else.
n"Underestimating the costs of health care.
The ability to pay for health care is an increasingly critical part of retirement income security. What was once referred to as the three-legged stool of retirement security -- with legs for pension, savings and Social Security -- now effectively needs a fourth pillar in health care savings.
Fix: Buy Medigap supplemental insurance that fills in benefit gaps in traditional Medicare. And strongly consider buying long-term care insurance, which pays for in-home care and nursing home care, unless your health or age make it unaffordable.
n"Underestimating how long they'll live.
This may be retirees' biggest mistake of all. With all the advances in medical technology, life expectancy is growing faster than ever before.
The downside is most seniors don't have nearly enough savings or income to stretch over a retirement that could last 30 years or more.
Fix: Ideally, financial preparation for a long life starts during your work career with the creation of a financial plan that will provide income deep into retirement. Failing that, working past your anticipated retirement age, even part time, will allow your existing savings additional time to grow.