Retirement fears are very common even though everyone looks forward to retiring. Strange but true. It makes sense though because no part of life, regardless of age bracket, is perfect, right? The key to handling fears and worries about retirement is to know what the main fears are so you can take steps to alleviate those concerns.
We will take a look at some of the top fears based on a survey at seniorliving.org. You will learn why these worries exist for so many people who are close to retirement age. Plus we’ll give you tactics to deal with these issues before and during retirement.
Finding Affordable Healthcare is a Retirement Fear
The survey we looked at showed 22% of people are concerned about little or no access to good, affordable healthcare. No shock, with healthcare costs inflating like a bubble every year. The one bubble we actually need to bust, right?
The way to deal with this retirement worry is with a multi-pronged approach:
● Shop around for health coverage that suits your needs best
● Research wasteful health coverage mistakes
● Keep updated on health care innovations
● Improve your fitness and eating habits
You can’t control United Healthcare’s price hikes, but you can shop around. And you can make lifestyle choices that can lower your premiums and help you feel better to boot. This same survey from SeniorLiving.org showed 50% of respondents exercise routinely to help avoid health issues. And 57% follow a healthy diet.
Retirees Fearful of Social Security
Next up is the age-old fear of Social Security running out when you retire. This is a legitimate concern. However, you know how rumors spread and this is a prime example because it is so scary to have paid into a system that could let you down when you retire.
But here is the truth. Social Security needs an overhaul to ensure it provides what it has promised millions of Americans. Just know that experts say your benefits would not stop even if the current Social Security fund ran out of money. Benefits might be reduced but could still be paid due to funding each week from SS tax on those still in the workforce.
Hopefully, that eases your fear a bit because it’s a common worry. 44% of those surveyed feared Social Security reductions or total elimination. It’s wise to keep an eye on this issue. Even smarter to build your nest egg so you’re not depending on Social Security to keep you afloat in retirement.
Retirement Fears of Dementia / Mental Decline
The next thing that keeps folks up at night relates to mental health. 31% of respondents were afraid of dementia or cognitive decline. Health issues are tough whether your mind fails you or it happens to your spouse. Also, the body could start to fail while the mind remains sharp as a tack.
There has been very little progress in healing those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The one FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug in 2021 has not been the miracle drug that some had hoped. According to Harvard Health, effectiveness is inconclusive and the medicine could cost $56,000 per year.
So how do we deal with this fear? According to the Harvard Health article:
● By controlling blood pressure
● Engaging in aerobic exercise
● Eating Mediterranean-themed foods
● Staying socially active
● Keeping a positive attitude
● Using memory strategies
Mentally Fit and Fiction
Meditation and mindfulness practices have also proven to boost mental and physical health. At the very least they provide us opportunities to spot health issues due to more body and mind awareness.
As for brain games and apps, there has been no solid evidence showing they keep our brains healthy or free of decline. This despite the brain training industry raking in billions each year. One of the major companies, Luminosity, was even fined $2 million in 2016 for deceptive advertising practices.
Major Retiree Fear
Who’s surprised that one main retiree fear is worrying about running out of money when they stop earning a paycheck? Our trusty survey states that 41% of people fear their savings or investments will run out during retirement. Living a long life is a blessing, but when your money doesn’t have the same staying power, that’s an issue.
Staying alive should be our #1 bucket list item. But we must be able to fund those extra years. Here are some steps to take to help ensure your savings are in it for the long haul with you:
● Live within your means before and during retirement
● Move retirement dates back if you have to - no shame in this at all
● Ensure your medical coverage doesn’t leave you open to financial ruin
● Run your retirement plan numbers regularly
● Use a CPA to ensure taxes don’t take more than your fair share
● Get guidance from a trusted financial advisor for complex issues
The best way to face this fear is to face reality. Ignoring financial problems makes them worse. It sets you up for disappointment in the future. Fixing your finances starts with being honest about where you stand and making adjustments.
Long-term Health Fears
What else was inside this insightful survey? Well, 44% of people said worsening health that requires long-term care was a big fear for them. No wonder healthcare is on the minds of so many retirement-age folks. Medical bills cause more bankruptcies than any other event.
Not to mention most retirement-age people have seen older relatives go through health struggles. This makes us all feel vulnerable, because, well, we are. One step to protect our wealth is to double-check our health coverage and fully understand it. That includes the Medicare system and long-term care coverage options.
Protecting your health involves exercise and proper nutrition. The goal is to feel good while we’re here, not to live forever. Pretty sure that option is off the board. The hardest part about switching to a healthy lifestyle is starting. You may need a nutritionist or personal trainer to guide you and give you a jumpstart. It’s worth the investment - I guarantee that.
The good news? If we don’t like feeling better and more energetic, we can go back to an unhealthy lifestyle in no time. No effort required - literally!
While we see there are real fears associated with retirement, there’s no need to panic. There is a need to plan it. Look at where you and your spouse are physically, mentally, and financially. Then devise and adjust your plan for where you guys want to be when you retire.
There is no one magic step to take. Planning for retirement with reduced fears and fewer regrets takes many steps, tackled regularly over a lifetime.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.