Retirement anxiety - how can it be managed

It’s understandable that many anxieties surround retirement, be they financial or emotional. The first step in dealing with these concerns is to recognise that they are normal, and can often be addressed and overcome.

It doesn’t matter what your financial position is, or how much you’re looking forward to retirement, there will be nagging issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

Finances

The 2012 report, Financial Wellbeing: Concerns and Choices Amongst Older Australians revealed that 50 per cent of older Australians intended to delay their retirement due to funding issues. These issues include having a mortgage, the impact of the GFC and the concern that their savings won’t keep up with inflation. So, while it’s worthwhile knowing that you’re not the only one worrying about money, it’s what you do about it that matters most.

So, don’t bury your head in the sand. It’s often claimed by those with little retirement savings that there is no point in seeking financial advice. The opposite is true. Good quality, independent advice is your best chance of achieving some form of financial security in retirement.

Take the time to transition

If the thought of a lifetime of Saturdays is scaring you witless, then perhaps it’s time to consider the opportunities available to you. There’s no need to jump straight into retirement – if work allows, you may consider cutting down your hours and testing the water of retirement.

Try things you’ve always wanted to do, or simply stop doing the things that you don’t enjoy to give yourself more ‘me’ time. Keep active too. Consider walking or gentle exercise; you don’t have to take up competitive sport. Or challenge your academic side by taking some short courses.

Embrace the new you

Retirement will change you – you would be naïve to think otherwise. Whether you’re easing out of the workforce, changing your role to something less physical or stressful, or giving up work altogether, you’ll no longer be defined by the job you do. And this is no bad thing.

It’s okay to simply be Grandma or Grandpa as much as it is to tackle running a marathon. This is your chance to be who and what you want.

Take control

Often it’s the feeling that decisions are being made for you that can rankle the most. Taking control of your finances, emotions, employment and health where possible will help you combat the inevitable feelings of helplessness that you may occasionally experience.

Do you, or did you, feel anxious about retirement? Which strategies will you, or did you, employ?

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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