In this series, we will ask top experts for their retirement advice the most common retirement questions from our readers. Every portfolio is different, but when it comes to your retirement planning, many people have the same retirement questions and make the same retirement mistakes. Retirement advice from expert Bud Hebeler might help you avoid some of these mistakes.

How do I pick my retirement date?

Your decision when to retire is dependent on many factors, including health; savings; benefits from Social Security and pensions; potential need to support aging parents or adult children; and even the desire to do something different, perhaps by working as a part-time employee or being involved with an income-producing hobby. After that decision is made, it’s important not to broadcast your intended retirement date too quickly or you might be bypassed for a raise or promotion that could cause you to change your mind.

How much money will I need in retirement?

It may be “safe” to retire when you can equal the monthly retirement income you need with the sum of your monthly Social Security, pension, and perhaps 0.3 percent of your retirement savings, less anything you need for emergencies or replacing things that wear out.

If you will have a fixed pension without cost-of-living adjustments, your pension in this equation should be multiplied by your age divided by 100.

Items that wear out might include your automobile, the paint on and roof of your house, your water heater, and so on. Once in retirement, it’s much better to have saved for these beforehand and to collect the interest yourself rather than to pay it out to someone else. You must be diligent to determine the amount of income you will need in retirement so that you make provisions for ever-increasing healthcare costs, taxes, and inflation. See more on these retirement subjects at

What is the biggest mistake that people make in their retirement planning?

The most frequent mistake I hear about from retired people is that they started taking their Social Security too early. They now see that they will likely live longer than they thought they would when they retired. They are missing reliable payments that are adjusted for inflation and that have some tax benefits. The other big mistake was not making some allowance for the possibility that either their aging parents or adult children would ask for financial assistance.

Mr. Henry K. Hebeler is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from which he has three degrees. Most of his working career was at The Boeing Company where he began as an engineer, worked his way through financial analysis, procurement, sales, corporate long range planning, and ultimately became president of Boeing Aerospace Company in Seattle, WA. For six years he was Boeing’s chief forecaster and planner reporting to the chairman. He has taken courses from Nobel Prize winners in economics. He has been on advisory committees to the U.S. Congress, Departments of Interior, Commerce, Energy, and Defense, an economic advisor to the Washington State governor and a member of Washington’s Economic Development Council. He has served on the Board of Governors of MIT’s Sloan School and other colleges. Mr. Hebeler has been working with retirees for many years, developed special material for their use, and given numerous seminars on retirement. His current focus is dissemination of sound financial planning information that applies to a wide range of personal investment, economic and income situations.