Summary: If you have retirement anxiety, you are not alone. According to a 2013 survey by Ameriprise Financial, only 46 percent of not-yet-retired boomers with investable assets of $100,000 or more feel confident they’ll be able to afford basic living expenses in retirement. Retirement anxiety effects millions of Americans every year. Concerns like: What will I do with my time? Who am I now that I am no longer a physician (or teacher or manager)? Do I have enough money? Despite the powerless feeling you may have, you do have control. To help, I have compiled a short list of action items you can take right now.
5 Ways to Reduce Retirement Anxiety
- Identify Your Passions or Create a Bucket List – Do you remember the activities you did before you had children and before you became so busy with life in general? A lot of times, your passions go by the wayside and are replaced by helping others, working, and resorting to procrastination techniques like telling yourself: “There is always tomorrow!”. Well, tomorrow is here, so write down 3 activities or bucket list items you want to revisit to bring excitement and relaxation into your life. This physical stimulation is often a good remedy for stress. Put the activities on your calendar or they will never happen.
- Consider Volunteering – For those of you who like helping others, volunteering your time in retirement can benefit everyone. There is something about helping others that can reduce your own retirement anxiety. Do you have a particular cause that is important to you such as church, cancer research, or helping under privileged or sick children? Don’t have a cause? Don’t worry, you can always check out Charity Navigator to help you find one. The mental stimulation that comes with helping others can be quite gratifying and is a great way to keep you feeling young.
- Set Marital Expectations (Carefully) – Sometimes, retirement anxiety can be brought on by resentment if one spouse is retired and the other is not. Additionally, once everyone in the household stops working, too much time in front of each other can be a bit of a “shock” to the system for many married couples. Sit down with your spouse to talk about what you want to do in retirement and when. Even specifying days of the week for golf, tennis, or bridge can be helpful toward setting proper expectations. Don’t forget about those date nights though! This can help keep your relationship fresh and help you stay focused on why you married each other in the first place!
- Create a Plan - As they say, failing to plan is planing to fail. Putting a retirement plan in place can help you gain clarity for your future and may reduce your retirement anxiety. Surveys show that individuals who put their goals on paper are far more confident about their future than those who don’t. A retirement plan can help identify strategies to create income and make your money last for the long term. More importantly, it can help you understand how you can afford all of your new activities!
- Work with a Retirement Planner – Retirement anxiety can often be caused by a lack of financial confidence and direction. With so much choice and so many retirement strategies available, it can be stressful sifting through all the jargon. A retirement planner can help you gain clarity on your future, provide insight on what strategies might work best for you, and be a lifetime partner to help you achieve new opportunities as they arise.
Remember, retirement anxiety is common. However, if you take the time to address each of the action items above, you may be able to reduce your retirement anxiety and boost your confidence. And that is nothing to stress over!
Retirement Anxiety – 5 Ways to Reduce It was written by Katherine Fonville, President of Fonville Wealth Management, LLC., a Fee-Only Financial Planner in Richmond, VA. Katherine is an independent financial advisor serving clients across central Virginia and Nationwide. She provide financial planning and wealth management services to successful individuals and families.
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