Avoiding a Stressful Retirement
In this article, we will discuss seven ways to reduce your stress as you begin retirement. The first way we're going to talk about is to have a retirement plan.
#1 Build a Retirement Plan
One way to reduce your stress is to have an official plan about what you will do during your retirement. You will want to look at all different types of factors and concerns that you have. Ask yourself how you will handle:
- Not having a paycheck
- The risk of running out of money
- Suffering investment losses
- Leaving money and resources to others
- Spending too much money
- The rising cost of long-term healthcare
- Current and/or future health concerns
- Potential boredom
Unfortunately, that is only the beginning. There are many more types of concerns that you can have going into retirement. However, by making a plan for them in advance, you can greatly reduce your stress.
You should also consider setting up a budget inside of your retirement plan. This should include your assets, how much you're going to spend (or how much you expect to spend), and how long the money you have will last. You'll also want to take into account the potential of market crashes and should plan conservatively just in case. Outlining this in advance of your retirement will ensure that you are financially prepared to reach your projected life expectancy.
So, to recap, our first tip is to have a plan that addresses your particular concerns in retirement so that you're not as full of stress or anxiety about it.
#2 Getting Things Done
All the things that I've read and a lot of the work that I've done in my own life, after going through a divorce at the age of 41 with four children, I learned and studied many ways to deal with anxiety. One tip that you repeatedly see is to get things done or “actually do things.”
If you want to have less stress in retirement, you'll want to get the items completed, both leading up to your retirement and in retirement. If those items are off your plate, then you don't have to think about them anymore, and you can focus on more important matters such as your peace, happiness, or any adventures that you want to embark on with your new freedom.
This will allow your stress level to go down from what it would be if you were still thinking about all your “to-do” lists that you need to complete over and over and over again, almost like a record playing in your head. For this reason, many
experts, counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists will repeatedly recommend that people with anxiety knock out the pending tasks in their life.
Don’t give in to procrastination, but rather aggressively attack the things in your life that you know you need to do. By doing so, your stress levels and anxiety levels are almost guaranteed to go down.
#3 Set Expectations Appropriately
As you go into retirement, you're going to have certain expectations. In retirement, for example, do you not want to work at all? Or do you want to work part-time? Do you ever want to completely retire? Also, if you want to have an active lifestyle, what is that going to look like? Are you going to be riding bikes? Are you going to be swimming? Are you going to be running? Are you going to be going to a yoga class or some other sort of class to help with your active lifestyle? Or maybe you want a quiet lifestyle? What does that look like for you? Will you move to the mountains, to the beach, or out into the rural areas of our countries? And what about travel? How much will you travel? How much will that cost?
Being able to define your expectations is very important. Another thing I see people do is buy a second home, move to a new home, or even start a new business. All of these ideas are great and can contribute to you having a wonderful retirement. However, if you don't know what you can afford to do, you may have misplaced expectations. Your expectations may be out of whack from reality. It reminds me of something that Walt Disney said. He said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." Well, that's not true. We don't ever want to have a Walt Disney doctrine for our lives. In fact, most of what comes out of Disney is contrary to what the Bible teaches for Jewish and Christian people. What the Bible says is that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens threatens you. It does not say if you can dream it, you can do it. So as you're entering retirement, make sure that you have expectations that are realistic, which leads into our fourth tip.
A holistic financial planner and wealth manager will be able to talk to you about your expectations, help you define which are the most important, and enable you to achieve these goals that you're setting for yourself. You should not go into retirement with expectations but no knowledge of whether or not you can afford them.
There have been many times when I've been going through a financial plan with my clients, and they have said something that just wasn't going to work. Maybe they wanted to start a business and invest $200,000 in it, but I could tell from their current financial state that it wouldn’t work for them. They didn't have that budgeted into their retirement. Sometimes they're able to do more than what they think they can do. Sometimes they can not only start a business, but they can also buy a second home and travel on a much better budget than they initially thought - even internationally! But without being able to work with a professional, your anxiety, stress, and fear may be higher than what they should be.
In addition, it’s important to note that as we get older, our cognitive abilities to think, reason, and make decisions reduce every year until we pass from this life and into the next life or eternity. Hiring a professional to assist you with your retirement is a great way to practice humility, allowing you to work with someone who will help double-check your decisions. In the Old Testament, the Bible says that there is a victory in a multitude of counselors. So if you can have counsel, seek advice from someone that does that and has been doing it for quite some time. This will allow you a much greater chance of reaching and succeeding in your expectations and goals than you would if you just try to do it by yourself. But again, it takes humility, and that is not something that most humans are born with. It has to be done through a will and has to be done through your relationship with God.
#5 Reducing Debt
Reducing debt is very important in lowering stress and anxiety during retirement. For example, I had a client that had a very prestigious high-end job. He was a vice-president at a Fortune 500 company. There were only 50 vice presidents in the whole United States for this very large and well-known company. His retirement income from them, once he retired, was $200,000 a year. (And that was 20 years ago.) But, he had so much debt. He had an expensive home in Highlands, North Carolina, two condos on a lake in Georgia, and a very nice home in north Atlanta’s nicer neighborhoods.
He just had so much debt that even with his $200,000 pension, he couldn't afford it, and he had to go back to work with his wife. They worked at a job together where they were working 20, 30, even 40 hours a week, trying to pay all the mortgages they had. He told me that if he could do it over, he would recommend that anybody that retires not have debt. It was causing him and his wife a tremendous amount of stress to the point it impacted their health.
It’s situations like this that make it so important to work hard to reduce your debt or have no debt at all is a key component to having a stress-free or less stressful retirement.
#6 Showing Grace and Patience with Children and Grandchildren
This next one is very personal, but it’s also very important to touch on. You need to put in the extra effort to extend love to those you have raised, including your children, grandchildren, and even your brothers and sisters.
I've been working with baby boomers since 2000. The first designation that I received was Certified Senior Advisor. After talking with baby boomers for quite some time, for decades, I have seen them repeatedly have stress around their families. They are focused on what their kids are doing for them:
"My child hasn't called me. My child isn't doing enough for my birthday. My child isn't coming to visit my parent, who is in a nursing home. My child didn't do this for me. My grandchildren aren't responding to my text fast enough."
I encouraged them - and am now encouraging you - to
ask not what your children can do for you, ask what you can do for your children and grandchildren.
Jesus Christ said that He came to serve, not be served. And when you enter retirement, if you will focus on serving others and not how other people can pay homage to you and what they can do to serve you, you will have much less stress and much more happiness.
We’ve discussed many points that revolve around emotions, but taking care of yourself physically should also be a priority. I guarantee that you’ve never heard of someone on a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, who drank water and walked every day, who had a problem with obesity. To best maintain your physical (and subsequently your mental) health, you'll want to drink lots of water, eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, exercise, walk, hike, ride bicycles, and/or swim. Do whatever your body can tolerate to get your heart rate up. Stretch two to three days a week and be in the gym and be after it. Take care of your body four to six days a week, and put your health as a priority. Get good sleep. This will greatly reduce the amount of stress you have during retirement.
So many doctors are prescribing pills for all these problems. You probably don't even need the pills you're taking. You probably don't have to take pills for the things you think you have to take pills for. Most of it, if not all of it, can be corrected through diet and exercise. This is something that our medical society doesn't want you to know. But it's impossible to put statin drugs in your system and not have symptoms, sometimes major symptoms, as you move through retirement. Take the time to make your body and your health a priority every single day by eating salads, avoiding processed foods and sodas, reducing your intake of cheese, dairy, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs. These are all foods that we know are absolutely terrible for us. Sugar is another cause of all types of diseases. It breaks down our immune system every time it hits our mouth. If you take the time to learn about these things and invest in your body, it will also lower your stress tremendously.
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If you would like to set up a no-cost, no-obligation call to discuss with me how you can have a less stress-filled retirement, go ahead and click on this link and schedule it. I'll be happy to talk with you and see how your situation will stack up as you're entering retirement. Or, if you're already in retirement and you're feeling stressed, let's talk about some of these seven tips and how we can apply them to your life so that you can feel less stress. Your life is important. You should feel like you can go out and make decisions for yourself so that you don't have to live with any more stress than you need to. I hope you found these seven ways to reduce your stress in retirement to be beneficial, as have our clients over the past decade, since 2000. Click here and schedule it now: https://calendly.com/thomascloud/retirement-ready-success-call. Also, we will perform an audit on your portfolio (greater than $500,000) and review that with you as well at no cost or obligation what so ever.