The Retirement Anxiety Antidote
You’ve been waiting for it your entire life. You’ve been sinking funds into your retirement account from the earliest date you were able. As your retirement date gets closer, suddenly the transition you’ve longed for becomes a source of anxiety. Instead of looking forward to the freedom, retirement anxiety takes over and you dread everything that might go wrong and wonder if it’s what you really want after all. The worry you feel when it comes to retirement may be worse than it should be.
What People Fear
There are multiple causes of retirement anxiety. Here are a few thoughts that might cross your mind when your last day of work looms.
- Anxiety over leaving a familiar place of employment – What if you change your mind and you’ve already been replaced?
- Visions of worst-case financial catastrophes – What if you become ill, your medical bills drain your savings, and your long-anticipated dream turns into a nightmare?
- Fear of the unknown – What if you lose your sense of drive and direction?
Retirement Anxiety – What Studies Show
While your anxiety is real, and it’s wise to be prepared, studies show that these fears often turn out to be unjustified. Vanguard Inc. studied retirees in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia to see how they felt post-retirement. Participants had a minimum of $50,000 in investments and were between 55 and 75 years of age.
Here’s what they found:
- In the U.S., 53 percent of pre-retirees felt satisfied with their financial situations
- After retirement, 65 percent expressed satisfaction
- Over half of retirees thought there was a national retirement crisis, but they didn’t feel it affected them
Before retiring, U.S. residents didn’t feel prepared. After they experienced just a brief period of retirement, they realized they were well prepared to enjoy this anticipated phase of their lives.
How retirees planned for retirement varied by country. In the United States and Canada, individuals sought help from financial advisors or other professionals. In Australia and the UK, people were more likely to seek advice from family and friends.
U.S. residents depend mostly on personal contributions to save for retirement. They are comfortable making their own decisions when it comes to the best time to retire and whether or not they should work during retirement. They rely on financial advisors to help analyze how their retirement income should be allocated, plan for expenses they didn’t already anticipate, and make the most of their investments.
The antidote to retirement anxiety is proper planning and sound financial advice. If you’re prepared, retirement will be a welcome transition instead of a source of dread.
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