Retirement Brings Many Challenges: Here’s How To Tackle Them

retirement challenges overcome planning retire

For most people, retiring is a significant watershed in their lives. Leaving behind the world of work requires many adjustments, even if you end up returning to some kind of work part-time, or in a different capacity. There will be big changes, many for the better, and some maybe not so positive. But being prepared for the challenges that retirement brings will help you to make this time of your life as enjoyable, rewarding, and stress-free as possible. 

Health And Wealth 

Managing your income and staying in good shape, both mentally and physically, are the two main areas everyone needs to consider when planning for retirement. Both health and wealth are hugely important to our ongoing happiness, and both need to be planned for to maximize our opportunities. Unfortunately for most of us, neither of these factors can be taken for granted as we grow older. 

Falling Short 

Well before you reach retirement age, you should have some idea of how much income you’ll need and how much you’re likely to have, based on your current pensions, investments, and savings. In many cases, you may find that your income falls short of your estimated outgoings. The good news is that the sooner you face up to this, the easier it is to do something about it. 

Retirement planning should be undertaken at least two years before you plan to retire, but ten years is better if you’re able. Remember that the nature of your outgoings will change in retirement. You’ll save money on expenses like travel to work, job-appropriate clothing, and so on, but may spend more on home utility bills, healthcare, and leisure activities. 

Financial Advice 

It’s advisable to seek out a professional financial advisor that specializes in retirement planning to help you best manage your affairs. Robert Ryerson is a certified financial planner focusing on retirement income, estate administration, and health insurance. A regular speaker at workshops and seminars around retirement, he is the co-author of the book What You Don’t Know About Retirement Will Help You. Professional advice will help you to stay ahead of legal and insurance challenges. It will make it easier to arrange your affairs so that retirement is the hassle-free experience that you are hoping to enjoy. 

Estimating What You Need 

Estimating the level of income you’ll need in retirement can be difficult. A way to make this easier is to break it down into three categories. The first is the minimum guaranteed income you need to live and keep a roof over your head. Ideally, this should be met by social security and lifetime annuities. 

Next, consider how much you’d like to have to maintain the kind of lifestyle you’d like. That can be regarded as flexible income: it’s something to aim for, but it’s not a complete disaster if your budgeting falls slightly short. That is what your investments are for. 

A third category might be considered luxury income for things that would be nice to have but aren’t essential. Slightly riskier investments, with the possibility of higher rewards balanced by a greater chance of them also losing value, could be used to provide this bit of extra cash. 

Watching Your Investments 

It’s a good idea to be more cautious with your investments as you get older. In the decade or so before you retire, start moving your money into lower-risk funds. You should also look at clearing your debts during this period, beginning with the ones on which you pay the most interest. Entering retirement debt-free is highly recommended. 

Keeping A Sense Of Purpose 

One of the biggest challenges faced by many retirees is keeping a sense of purpose and meaning once they leave work. Generally speaking, the more high-powered and rewarding your career was, the greater a difficulty it might be. Studies show that having a meaningful life lessens the effects of aging and that those with a sense of direction and purpose tend to outlive their more aimless peers. 

In most cases, it doesn’t seem to matter when you find your direction or indeed, what it is, just so long as you have some reason to get up in the morning and keep going. Boredom and apathy are your worst enemy, and keeping it at bay isn’t just a case of filling your day with activity. Meaningful activity is what counts and keeps you happy and healthy long into retirement. It might involve turning a passion into a new hobby, starting a new business, or doing voluntary work for a charity. 

Thinking positively about aging will help you to fend off the depression that can sometimes accompany getting older. Be proactive about maintaining a social life, ideally with friends of different ages as well as family. Spending time with your grandchildren will give you a sense of emotional connection as well as keeping you physically active. 

Retire Right

Continually reviewing and updating your retirement plan and keeping an active mind and body goes a long way to maintaining a secure and enjoyable later life. Being aware of the challenges and facing them is the first step to overcoming them. Retiring from work shouldn’t mean withdrawing from the world, and there’s still a lot in which to be involved.

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