Many of us have an image of how retirement is supposed to be: You’re free! No boss to answer to, no schedule to keep, no demands upon you. In short, retirement equals no stress, right? But the reality is that some retirees report they still have stress after they leave their jobs.1
So what gives? Why are retirees feeling stress in a time when they should be feeling footloose and fancy-free? Here are four stressors you may want to be aware of as you approach retirement:
- Financial concerns. According to a survey conducted by TransAmerica, outliving savings and investments is the No. 1 retirement concern of most Americans.2 The idea of living on a fixed income can create a sense of stress for many people, especially those who feel they haven’t saved enough during their working years.
- Health concerns. Health insurance provider Aetna reports that more than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition.3 These conditions may require expensive prescriptions or frequent visits to a health care provider.
- Changes in identity. Leaving a job is a major life change, even if you’re looking forward to retirement. For many of us, our jobs are a big part of our identity. Some people make an easy transition into retirement, but others might experience anxiety, depression and a feeling of loss.4
- Caring for aging parents and spouses. Retirees may have to assume the role of caregiver for parents and/or spouses. While caring for a loved one can reap great rewards, it can also create continuing stress for the caregiver, especially if it spans several years or the caregiver is not receiving help or guidance from friends, relatives or medical professionals.5
1 Nanci Hellmich. USA Today. May 27, 2014. “Five top stressors in retirement and how to cope.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/05/27/retirement-five-stressors/9329991/ Accessed June 26, 2017.
2 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. December 2016. “17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.” http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/retirement-survey-of-workers/tcrs2016_sr_retirement_survey_of_workers_compendium.pdf. Accessed June 26, 2017.
3 Aetna. “Retirement Stress: Real and Widespread.” https://news.aetna.com/2016/07/retirement-stress-real-widespread/. Accessed June 26, 2017.
4 Jamie Chamberlin. American Psychological Association. January 2014. “Retiring minds want to know.” http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/retiring-minds.aspx. Accessed June 27, 2017.
5 Nanci Hellmich. USA Today. May 27, 2014. “Five top stressors in retirement and how to cope.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/05/27/retirement-five-stressors/9329991/ Accessed June 26, 2017.