Tackling your retirement fears before they become a reality will set you up for the best post-work life possible.
Retirement is a tough idea to conceptualize. We spend decades trying to build up a reasonable nest egg, hoping we’ve managed to sock enough away. But trying to visualize what our ideal retirement looks like can be hard — especially after working nonstop, likely for several decades.
Not knowing what the future holds can manifest itself into fears that retirement won’t work out how we hoped. These fears can be based on finances, health or other aspects of life after work.
But with the right plan you can hedge those fears — if not eliminate them entirely.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest retirement fears and what you can do to assure they don’t wreck your golden years.
Conquering the Biggest Retirement Fears
Not Having Enough
A lot of retirement fears revolve around finances — worry that what we have accumulated won’t last.
In fact, a recent Transamerica survey found that 45% of baby boomers nearing retirement were most afraid of running out of money.
All hope isn’t lost if you fall into this category. But you’ll likely need to shift gears.
Focus all you can on contributing to your 401(k) and individual retirement accounts. If you are at least 50 years old, you can contribute $7,000 per year into an IRA and $26,000 into your 401(k). Make that a goal and max those savings out.
Every dollar you save now is at least one more to spend down the road, and perhaps more if invested wisely.
And stay in the stock market. Allocating an appropriate amount into stocks can generate a lot of income. This is especially true in rallies like we’ve seen since the coronavirus crash of February and March.
The 45% cited also should be a warning sign to younger people. Younger generations aren’t magically shielded from retirement fears like this. If anything, it should be a wake-up call to find ways to save as much as you can now.
Social Security’s Future
Around 46% of baby boomers are worried about Social Security’s future, according to Transamerica. The program won’t cease to exist, thanks to payroll taxes. But it could see substantial cuts in the next 15 years.
The Social Security Board of Trustees projects the program’s trusts will be insolvent by 2035. The COVID-19 outbreak could move that date up even more as the unemployment rate has shot up to 13.3%. The money won’t stop flowing but benefits could be reduced by as much as 20%.
That means you need to have a back-up plan. Social Security is a touchy subject, so don’t plan on the government figuring it out — at least not anytime soon.
Instead, find another income stream to supplement your retirement. Finding a part-time job or starting a small business are both good options. Maintaining a rental property can also be a good source of income.
And assume the situation isn’t going to get better if you’re younger. Planning for a smaller Social Security check now means you won’t be in for a nasty surprise later. This retirement fear is likely to stick around for a long time.
We focus a lot on financials here at Money & Markets — rightfully so considering we are a financial site.
But money isn’t everything. “Financial insecurity” and “health decline” topped Transamerica’s retirement fears survey, but “boredom” was a fairly close third at 14%.
Staying active in retirement is crucial to your well-being. What’s the point in having a healthy nest egg if you don’t have a plan for it?
Staying engaged in your community through hobbies, volunteering or a part-time job is a great way to stay both physically and mentally active.
Work takes up huge chunks of time. Create a plan that fills some of that time and gives you something to look forward to every day.
We likely all have retirement fears in some form or another. Being proactive now could help you stave off some of those fears later.