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Some of these methods are definitely enjoyable, for example owning a money-sucking vehicle can be a lot of fun.  Others methods are more serious, and not only can be, but should be avoided with care.

10. Leave a big mortgage for retirement

A mortgage is a large financial commitment, and trying to fit that expense into a fixed income can be tough.  It will certainly squeeze your disposable income, making it harder to meet other unexpected expenses.

9. Own a money-sucking vehicle

Some cars are investments, some are hobbies, some are status symbols, some are for transportation, and some just require a money tree to keep them parked in the driveway, and not at the mechanic’s shop.  My personal ambition is to own such a vehicle someday, if I could only decide between a classic Model A, the sleek ‘40s, the fin-tailed 50’s, or the muscle car ‘60s…

8. Take up expensive hobbies

The price of our toys certainly goes up as we get older.  Collecting hotels in monopoly as a kid is a lot different than collecting hotel receipts traveling!  Or you could just make a hobby of fixing the money-sucking vehicle…

7. Rack up credit card bills

It doesn’t matter what age you are, the siren song of “buy now, pay later” can lead to financial shipwreck.

6. Be the family ATM

Being able to give to your children and grandchildren gifts is a joy for everyone.  But lending large sums can lead to trouble between siblings and parents.  Better to make large gifts or loans strategically as part of an overall estate plan.  But the first priority should be maintaining your own financial solvency.

5. Live in between here and there

Destination retirements are as attractive as destination weddings these days.  In picking a destination for a retirement home, think about where you’ll be spending most of your time.  An awesome location can be a great vacation spot, but will you want to be where you can spend more time with grandkids?

4. Don’t plan for long term care expenses

Aging can be expensive, and there doesn’t appear to be any long term solution on the horizon for rising medical costs.  You should look at the options available to you, from long-term care insurance, to prudent investing to see what is going to provide the best protection for you.

3. Create, or fail to eliminate brewing family battles

Certain assets can create disagreement between siblings and other family members.  Are there particular heirlooms that everyone wants?  Is there a family business to pass on to the next generation?  Investments in land or other active investments?  If the next generation is unprepared to manage and step into the role you are playing now with these assets, their value could shrink dramatically.

2. Don’t plan for retirement

Retirement planning involves a lot of decisions that are often irreversible.  Are you getting good advice going into those decisions?

1. Send your heirs to probate court

Probate in California is a slow and expensive process.  Without the right estate plan in place, you could be sending your heirs to probate court.  Use a living trust to avoid the probate process, and give your heirs unparalleled additional protection and direction.