Retirement is the endgame for most people — it’s literally why we work so hard our entire lives. But it’s also no longer a situation that is as straightforward as it once was, particularly as far as financial planning is concerned. According to one recent study, nearly one out of every three people have nothing saved for retirement. More than half that have less than $10,000 set aside in a bank account for this specific purpose.
Indeed, a recent survey of CPA financial planners confirms that this situation may be a lot more precarious than most people think.
Your Money, Your Retirement and You
According to the most recent AICPA PFP Trends Survey, running out of money for retirement is the top concern of 41% of CPA financial planners today. If people aren’t worried about not having enough money to retire in the first place, they’re worried about not having enough to maintain their current lifestyle — a fear that 29% of respondents shared. The third biggest concern — coming in far behind the other two — had to do with the rising cost of healthcare, which 11% of people said that they were worried about.
The same study also revealed that once people retire, the biggest fear of 52% of retirees was a sharp decline in the value of their investments.
The second biggest fear, coming in at 24%, was a serious illness like dementia. To put that into perspective, millions of people are diagnosed with dementia or other cognitive issues every year, and that trend is expected to increase sharply over the next decade. Despite this, people are STILL more worried about their financial situation than they are about anything related to their health and well-being.
So at the very least, if you’ve come down with a severe case of retirement anxiety and are worried about your financial situation during your twilight years, know that you are not alone. Luckily, there are a few key steps you can take today to help ease some of this anxiety moving forward.
The Fight Against Retirement Anxiety
One of the biggest ways to combat retirement anxiety involves knowing what you can cut if needed. Take a look at your current spending patterns and decide which actions are related to “needs” and which are related to “wants.” You can’t necessarily cut the amount of money you’re spending on healthcare, but you CAN get rid of that expensive cable package. Experts agree that running out of money is actually rare for older people who actively track and plan their spending, so keep this in mind moving forward.
Likewise, you should also at least consider delaying your Social Security checks until you reach the age of 70. Depending on when you retire, this might mean that you go almost a decade without receiving these monthly checks (if the current average retirement age is any consideration).
However, making this move means that you’ll actually get a lot more money every month — something that may make all the difference if this is something you’re truly concerned about.
Finally, the most important thing that you can do involves the acknowledgment that these types of issues are incredibly common — worrying about having enough money to comfortably retire is not something that is exclusive to you. Everyone thinks about these things and they cause everyone stress every now and again. It’s a natural part of getting older. Don’t try to avoid it.
But you also can’t let retirement anxiety prevent you from taking the action today that will protect your financial situation tomorrow. Partner with a financial advisor to lay out your goals and work to come up with the right plan that meets your needs together. That in and of itself is one of the best ways to prevent these types of fears from becoming a reality in the first place.