Handling Retirement Fears

Most people are expected to look at retirement with excitement and anticipation, but many people also have fears about retirement.

According to a study by Edward Jones two of the biggest fears Americans have about retirement are:

  • “paying for healthcare costs” (23% of Americans in the survey listed this as their top retirement fear)
  • “having to work longer to supplement retirement savings” (19% of respondents  listed this as their top retirement fear)

Turns out these fears are not just specific to Americans.  When Retire Easy posted the question “What is your biggest fear about retirement?” on LinkedIn, half of the responses came from outside the USA and followed a theme of not having enough money, not having their health, or not making it to retirement at all.

How To Deal With Retirement Fears

First, it may be helpful just to realize you are not alone if you have a fear or two about retirement.  There are many unknowns when it comes to retirement, like how long you will live and what your health will be.  In addition, there are factors like inflation and interest rates that could affect your buying power in the future.  Many times we have fears about the unknown.  Given this, it is natural to have fears about retirement.

Next, take control and plan for what you can.  Maybe this means you have to face a fear like working longer.  It might not be ideal, but it could help you build your investments for a few more years while also decreasing the number of years you have to rely on your savings.

Third, be honest with yourself.  Acknowledging a fear will give you the ability to address the fear.    For example, if you have been treading water with your investments and thinking about your portfolio keeps you awake at night, admit it and try talking about it.  You will probably find there are other people in your community experiencing the same thing and this can help you find the support you need.

Finally, seek professional help, whether that means a counselor or a financial planner, if you need it.

While it may be impossible to have no fears about retirement, hopefully you can get to a point where you can have a more optimistic perspective like one of the LinkedIn respondants, Prem Kumar:

“Retirement is inevitable and one should accept it as this is a part of life. Why should one fear it as long as your system is good enough to enjoy the other part of life too? Cheer up, this is the time to throw away your responsibilities and enjoy what you have earned.”

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