Many Americans are way behind when it comes to retirement planning. Relatively few get an early start, and this means that future retirees are likely to have a shortfall when they decide to pull the plug on work. While failing to plan is probably the biggest mistake people make, there are other mistakes that can really hurt people who want to plan for retirement.

Not Saving
This problem is tied to not planning for retirement. Those who put no money away will have to rely entirely on Social Security. The average Social Security payment will ensure poverty if that’s all a retiree has to fall back on.

Starting Too Late
Getting started early is key to building wealth. This is because compound interest will have more time to work its magic. Waiting five or ten years will require more savings to come up with a sizable nest egg.

Investing Too Conservatively
What might seem like the safest investment might actually be very dangerous. Burying money in a can or stuffing it in a mattress might seem safer than putting money in the stock market. However, money that’s not invested will lose purchasing power to inflation every year. That’s why it’s important to put some money toward stocks or real estate. These investments will usually beat inflation over time as businesses can increase prices.

Taking Social Security Early
Most people who will retire in the future will have to wait until age 67 to draw their full Social Security benefit. Claiming early benefits at age 62 is possible. However, taking payments early will mean that these payments will be lower for life. Holding off until 67 or 70 will greatly increase the monthly payout for those who can afford to wait.

Missing Employer Matches
Many employers offer matching funds for employees who save in a company 401(k) plan. This is free money, and those who don’t save at least the amount necessary to hit the full match are missing out.

There are a number of mistakes that people make when they plan for retirement. The biggest is not having a plan in the first place, but these are some of the more common. The most important step to take is getting started on saving for retirement.