The first wave of Baby Boomers has crashed onto the shore of retirement. Some are partially retired, some have retired and then returned to some form of work, and others are now fully retired. A few are not planning on retiring at all. Many are full of anxiety and fears as their retirements approach while others cannot wait! We can learn a lot from the before and after stories of retirement of this first wave of boomers.
The Big Bad Wolf at the Door
74% of Pre-retirees say their biggest fear about retirement has to do with finances. Do I have enough money? Will I outlive my money? Will I ever get out of debt? Will I be able to afford the lifestyle and health care I want? The volatile stock markets, low interest and fluctuating returns on investments create a very scary environment for retirement.
However, after retirement, the money fear disappears for 26% of those who were concerned prior. Great strategies to deal with that financial fear before retirement could include:
- radically reducing debt,
- managing expenses,
- getting a financial planner and putting a retirement plan in place,
- increasing savings and investments, or
- practicing retirement by living on 70% of income and putting 30% aside.
Many studies suggest that those who work with a financial planner have more confidence than those who go it alone.
Fears are real
Other common fears include missing work and being bored, being lonely, and suffering with declining health.
Related article: Retirement is about more than just money
I have spoken to retirees about their before and after retirement stories and these are examples what I have heard:
“Before I retired I just worked all the time. I didn’t think I had time for exercise, good nutrition, or hanging out with friends and family. My blood pressure was getting high and out of control and that was the wake up call. I cut back on work, started cycling or working out daily. Now I am fully retired from my job, I do property management for my rental unit and a couple of other buildings. I took up the guitar again, and keep up the fitness habit. I figured out that I have about as much time as anybody else and that I actually was replaceable at work.”
Related article: Health and wellness is important to retirement planning
“My wife and I did not really talk about what we would do or I would do…she had her life already sorted. I just figured I’d have a blank canvas and make it up as I went along. When I did retire I had a tough go. I felt underfoot at home, had nowhere else to go really, nobody to do stuff with…they were all still working. I took quite awhile to get a new routine going.”
Related article: Designing your retirement lifestyle
“We had a business that was open 6 days a week and the other day was for the books, inventory, ordering, and cleaning up. I read an article on workaholism and my husband’s doctor told him he was having stress related symptoms. He told him to go walking in nature. Then we went to 4 days a week, bought a cottage and a dog. We started a succession plan, and a few years later, sold the business, and then the house. We bought an Airstream and the plan is to live at the cottage until the snow flies and then hit the road for the south. We are kind of making it up as we go along but so far it is pretty good.”
Creative thinking, serious planning, and a vision of what you want from the rest of your life can make for a rewarding and live-life-to-the-fullest future.
Do you have a before and after retirement story to share?