Retirement anxiety - how can it be managed

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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.


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?

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Reversing retirement

Maurice Patane answers your questions about extra income and your Age Pension.

Your retirement survival guide

Here are 10 ways to reduce your financial concerns in retirement.

Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 25
  1. 0

    I suffer Retirement Anxiety — that is, anxiety that I won’t get to retire while I am still fit enough to enjoy it!

  2. 0

    I was forced to retire and ended up at a shrink. The best advice I got was to list the 10 worst things that could happen to me in my life – retirement was not one of them.

  3. 0

    I am being “forced” – well, coerced to retire.
    How? my beloved company keeps finding me jobs that would challenge the youngest, fittest individuals, let alone someone who should have retired years’ ago.
    They know this, it’s a way of paying me less than other workers in the same job (by tens of thousands per year!). They know I cant retire just yet – not enough super, and I cant leave to find another job – not in my industry, at my age.
    Now, due to the new job they ordered me into last July (“temporarily, until we advertise”) I am losing my hearing. But they have not yet even advertised for my replacement. They are offering LESS salary than I am being paid. There is NO WAY anyone will apply.
    Strangely enough, I cannot even take leave to see if my hearing improves! There IS no one that can do my job on an ongoing basis.
    As Happy Cyclist said. By the time I DO retire, I will be unable to enjoy it.

    • 0

      You should by now suffer from more anxiety if you are a home owner and intend to claim the Aged Pension, part pension or full pension. You see the, the government is looking at a way of reducing the expense of age pension payments by enforcing home owners who need to depend on the Age Pension by enforcing the home owner in to a ‘reverse pension loan scheme’ where they pay your pension as a loan against the value of your home. When you pass away and the loan debt that you owe is greater than the value of your home the government becomes the equity owner of your home. That means that your children will not inherit your home, the government will. If the loan debt is less than the value of your home of course you will have the right to sell it and use the surplus of your equity , after repaying the loan to the government,to enter a Nursing Home…that is, if you have enough left over to afford the Nursing Home and Health fees they charge. So there you are, something to look forward to when you retire, if you own your own home.

    • 0

      That is disgusting! I don’t own my own home so that beggars the question What happens to me?

    • 0

      old age worker,

      Are you a member of a union? If so, arrange to see an organiser and tell them of the things that are happening to you at work. Take along any paperwork such as emails directing you to new jobs within the company, pay advice slips that show you are being paid less than others doing the same job, etc.

      Also ask the union organiser about discrimination. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of your age or medical grounds, such as your hearing problem.

      If your hearing problems are caused or being made worse by the workplace and your Dr says it is caused by something in the workplace, you should consider putting in a workers compensation claim. The union will help you with this. And if you put in a workers comp claim and your employer uses this against you in any way, you and the union can take them to the Work Cover Authority.

    • 0

      old-age worker, do you belong to a union? If so, they should be able to give you help. If not, see an aggressive “militant” lawyer, like Maurice Blackburn & Co. and I don’t mean this in a derogatory way to the law firm. I used them once in a work-related issue and they were like terriers fighting for me. Your local government member is another avenue to travel. Good luck.

    • 0

      Yes old-age worker, I know someone in a similar situation to yours. He is in his late 80’s and works 30 hours pw. Apparently the employer reckons he works at half the pace of the 30 year olds, so he gets half wages. Although others reckon he works just as fast.

  4. 0

    I was anxious FOR retirement and I MADE IT ARRIVE at 56 years of age. Strategies were, and still are, hard work, wise investments, and a tightening of the belt at times – things that anyone can do if they so wish and want to have an early permanent vacation from HAVING to work if you don’t want to.

  5. 0

    What retirement?. Turnbull wants us to work till we are 70, but wait, the NSW Gov wants us to hand our drivers licenses in at 70 because we are then classed as too old to drive! Hockey destroyed the retirement plans of an estimated 560000 retirees with the changes to the assets tests and taper rules, so anyone who worked and saved for their retirement was penalised. he also called disabled people rorters whilst he himself rorted the people at $288 a night travel allowance to pay off his Canberra holiday house. So work till you’re 70, hand in your licence and sit back and die. Turnbull and Bronwyn Bishop will be pleased.

    • 0

      Mike, true, entertaining, and sad all at the same time. Good comment.

    • 0

      I get the feeling they would be happy if all baby boomers decided to get euthanised!

    • 0

      You forgot to mention his Havana Cigars that he is entitled to.
      As for his derogatory insult to all the Age Pensioners that we are not “entitled to the age pension”. He misinformed. The ‘Invalid and Age Pension Act’ 1908-1942 plus all the amendments that followed through out the years in the Federal Constitution refer to “Qualified” , that is, if, the applicant, qualifies then the applicant is “Entitled to Invalid and Age Pension payments under the Act”. Any changes by way of introduced Bills of amendments to Acts under the Australian Constitution must be approved by the House of Representatives first and then by the Senate. At the next Federal Election, coming soon, we, Aged Pensioners have the power of choosing which Federal MP in our electorates will be on the side of Invalid and Age Pensioners. Which Federal MP will not punish us for being home owners. Which Federal MP will not force home owners who need to survive on the Age Pension in to enforced pension loan scheme, like the reverse mortgage scheme. Choose wisely. Don’t elect liars. Don’t elect self-serving candidates who will #uck-up your retirement plans including the cost of Medical Health care and the cost of your final resting place , the Nursing Home. Don’t be naive. Do your research on Internet and and in person attending their meetings. Get their commitments and record them so you can keep the bastards honest.

    • 0

      Excellent comments and advice by HS. Too many people sit back and do nothing, then expect things to fall into place in their favour. If you are not happy with a proposed change to, ie, pensions, then start lobbying – write letters to your local MP and Senator, plus to the Ministers responsible for pensions, plus to the Prime Minister. Make it very clear that what they propose is not acceptable, not fair – or whatever it is you want to say. Write a “real” letter via Australia Post – yes, it costs postage but is worth it because they have to reply, whereas emails or posts on Facebook etc. can more easily be ignored. If you are then not happy with the reply (which will probably be full of rhetoric and etc.) then write again, calling the MP out on what you see as being incorrect/unfair etc. Keep doing it. That is the only way that politician will realise that we are not a bunch of idiots, rather we hold each of them accountable.
      Also become a member of organisations such as COTA, National Seniors etc. – these organisations lobby hard on behalf of older people, including in particular those they believe are being disadvantaged by changes to pensions etc. Write letters to those organisations and also to the newspapers. If we all did this it would have impact. And yes, I have and do write such letters if I am outraged by proposals that MPs put forward.

  6. 0

    I turn 65 later in the year and I am worried about retirement, my home, savings, superannuation, taxes. I wonder if I will have enough to live on, would I be able to afford to keep up with private health cover & other expenses. Then there’s the rego each year, car maintenance etc. It’s very overwhelming. I have been putting off seeing a private financial adviser. I mean I would not know where to start about looking for one & how do I know I could trust them? What if they are only interested in lining their pockets. Will I be able to go on an international holiday if/when I am a pensioner and if so for how long? I’m feeling I have lost control where my future & finances are concerned and a little trapped. The current bumbling government have no idea what they are doing especially when it comes to senior citizens, taxes, superannuation and retirement. They seem to be set on targeting the elderly & underpriveledged rather than the fat cats. They should be looking after pensioners better not making life harder for them.

    • 0

      cyclones ally, word of mouth is one way to find someone you need, and probably one of the best. If there is no close friend to give you direction seek out a few financial advice/superannuation consultancy firms who have been around for a while. The first visit is usually free of charge withno obligation for you to return (and DON’T sign anything when you are there!). Have all your questions written down in regards to your financial needs and aspirations. Try to fully understand the meaning of degrees of volatility with all the investment options you may be considering or are being suggested to you. For what it is worth, and that may not be much from personal experience, make an appointment to see a Financial Information Services officer at your local Centrelink. Compare the advice of each to one another, paying close attention to ongoing commissions and fees, and be certain you know the difference between active and passive advisers, as this can result in a lot of unnecessary expense to you. All of this may seem a bit overwhelming and/or confusing to you, but it is definitely NOT rocket science. One of the most important things is to allow yourself a lot of time to consider your options and to hasten slowly with your decisions. YOU are the customer so be in control and don’t do ANYTHING if you are untrusting or unsure of ANY consequences. In other words, don’t act like a cyclone, Sally. And, good luck.

    • 0

      I am not sure that, seeing a financial adviser will be of any benefit to any one except the financial advisers and the entities they may be representing for a commission. Too many financial advisers caught out have been delisted and suspended and there are many that haven’t been caught out yet. My ex lost $20,000 of her savings by following the advice of a registered financial adviser.
      As Aged Pensioners we now have a lot to worry about especially if we are homeowners but need to survive on Age Pension support. The probable enforced pension loan scheme for people needing to survive on Aged Pension, is one of the major concerns. In other words the government will allow you an Aged Pension loan against the equity of your home, a scheme that works exactly like a reverse home mortgage loan except that you will not get a lump sum but fortnightly payments. Too bad, if the Aged Pension loan exceeds, in the future, the value of your home on the market. You will be in debt, possibly Bankrupt. Alternative is, don’t apply for the Age Pension and survive on your own. This may mean that you will need to find employment, a difficult task, given the blatant age discrimination by employers, ill health or live off your superannuation and savings, if any, or sell off your home and move out of town to perhaps a caravan park or regional area where some homes are affordable where you can live off the surplus of your funds. But, all this well and good except that you will be 600 or more kilometres away from your family, children, grandchildren and your old friends. Retirement life will fairly lonely. Also, consider that if you spend the entire balance of your savings, superannuation and equity from the sale of your home you will not have enough to afford a Nursing Home and the associated Medical Health costs.
      Someone once wrote, that the ‘Aged Pension’ was a reward for the service the retiree provided to the Commerce of Australia. Now there are proposals to the government that all Aged Pensioners with any wealth should be kicked in the guts for their services to the Commerce of Australia. I just wonder whether the parliamentarians will also be kicked in the guts and when. Perhaps soon, at the next Federal election.

    • 0

      HS, this is “doomsday” advice. This poor woman above sounds as if she is seeking some help and you carry on like she should be cutting her wrists. Things are NOT all doom and gloom IF you don’t want them to be! Talk about a bad attitude – YOU have it! Some of the things you’ve said may allude to the truth, but your interpretation is certainly negative.

    • 0

      This pension loan business on your home will probably not come in in your lifetime as Fast Eddie says don”t be such a pessimist.

  7. 0

    I reckon most couples could live on $50000 to $55000 per annum quite comfortably and be able to buy a car every few years travel every few years and pay some health insurance if you wish.
    If not on the pension you will need about a million bucks that is at a rate of 5.5% which you should be able to get over a period of time without to much risk.
    Of course if you combine a pension you would not need the million bucks .

  8. 0

    Never had any retirement anxiety, have none now that I am; in fact I have no anxiety about anything…no use being concerned about tomorrow.

  9. 0

    NO anxiety for those who trust the Lord…NONE



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