One thing financial planners suggest everyone do for the New Year is review their retirement plan.

Well, a new survey from Voya Financial gives us some insight into why people don’t do it. They hate it!

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that 80 percent of respondents said they had not taken the time to review or revise their retirement plan within the past year, in effect ignoring their retirement realities.

  •  More than half (53 percent) said that they did not review their retirement plan even after experiencing a major life change that impacted their finances.
  •  When it came to making decisions related to the retirement plan process, nearly two thirds (63 percent) said they spent too little or no time at all on the topic.
  •  More than one quarter (26 percent) admitted they would procrastinate longer on making a retirement plan decision than they would with other activities, such as preparing to speak in public (23 percent), studying for an important exam (17 percent) or researching a personal loan (17 percent).
  •  In the past year, more than twice as many people reviewed or made adjustments to their phone, cable and/or internet service (43 percent) or social media account profiles (43 percent) than they did with their retirement plans (20 percent).
  •  More than one-third (37 percent) said they would prefer to spend their time waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles rather than researching or reviewing their retirement plan options.

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Last week’s question of the week: 

Let’s help folks with year-end planning. If there is one year-end tip you’d give to people to get ready for retirement, what is it?

Nancy Breit of Sarasota, Fla.:
This is really too late for a year-end tip but — I am a retired 80-year-old widow and was never told that my IRA withdrawals (which I pay taxes on) would impact my Social Security payments the following year.  Social Security is taking an additional $53.50 from my monthly payment because my IRA withdrawals, combined with a small pension put me over $85,000 in adjusted gross income. This should be more widely publicized. Thanks.

Mary Winstead of Bowie, Md.:
SAVE EARLY AND OFTEN!!

Michael Rahman of Winston-Salem, N.C.:
Managing investments during my working life I often saw two major advice items quoted like truths:
* After retirement expenses will be about 80 percent of pre-retirement income.
* At retirement the portfolio should be about 50 percent stocks and 50 percent bonds.
Both are fundamentally wrong!
My last few years working were overall the years with the highest salary. Many years before retirement investment and retirement plans included selling a large home and building a retirement home half the size and handicap-ready with all wide doors, wheelchair shower, etc., and 15 years before retirement a solid long-term health care policy was purchased. Pre-retirement actions included paying off all mortgages on home and beach houses, so at retirement no debts.

Reading on flights and weekends in foreign countries while on business trips incurred financial reading like Money Magazine, Kiplinger, Etc. and switched all retirement funds for me and my wife to a self-managed bank trading platform later replaced by Schwab after researching with Consumer Reports and financial newspaper and magazine articles. I was able to trade from anywhere in the world online. Progressively stock portfolios became more conservative and based on fact that over time stocks outperform bonds by 2-to-1 ratio. No bonds were ever included in portfolios.

Bottom line — my after retirement expenses are well under 80 percent, less than 40 percent of pre-retirement income.

My most recent columns:

If you want a comfortable retirement, you’d better get ready
Steps to take to ensure a satisfying retirement
How much money do you need for retirement

Michelle Singletary’s most recent columns:

Are you smarter than a millionaire?
That mean old Grinch gets a bad rap
Trump tax cuts: Will you get what you want
The hard truth about inheritance

Friends, this is my last retirement newsletter. Michelle Singletary’s Thursday personal finance newsletter will continue. That you all for your feedback and support. You can contact me at Rodney@RodneyABrooks.com. Rodney Brooks