Retirement Should Not Be Stressful
Common wisdom suggests that most people think that stress-causing situations stem from workplace problems. They also think that besides work, thinking about family issues, health issues and finances are the cause of stress. While these situations can individually be stressors, another one that might not be on the radar screen is retirement. Believe me, retirement is right on top of the list now as a cause of experiencing stressful situations!
Many employers are dangling a golden egg to long-time employees as a means of reigning in fiscal spending. While the prospect of ending the daily commute and 9-5 work-time in the cubicle sounds good to me, I’d be foolish to think that retiring will add leisure and free time to my days. Will I actually be able to gaze out at an aqua blue ocean while being fanned by palm leaves? In my wildest dreams will I be able to enjoy a swim-up bar on a cruise ship? In reality, I think my retirement will be quite different.
Baby Boomers like myself have been workerbees since we were 16. Retiring from our positions is going to be a huge lifestyle change. Like anything, any lifestyle changes can be stressful until you’ve fully adjusted. Until you develop new routines, you’ll feel a little lost once you’ve stopped the work routine that you’ve developed and followed for years.
Yet another area expected to change when people retire will be your social support system. Over the last 20 years with my current employer, may of my coworkers have retired one by one. Although we promised each other to keep in touch, get together often and have lunch, scheduling conflicts almost never allowed us to do so. I feel the void in our daily water-cooler chats about family life, entertainment news and sometimes the politics of the moment or crisis de jour. Retiring ends those social ties and connections. What’s left is a void that will have to be filled with new relationships and social connections outside of the job.
Leaving your job opens up a new freedom to be able to do what you always wanted to do while simultaneously forcing you to make big decisions. You may have to decide whether to downsize your home,; move in with the adult children; purchase that sought-after vacation home or become a year-round live aboard boater like Jimmy Buffet. We have friends who moved to a gated community on the South Carolina coast and are absolutely delighted with their choice. These decisions are major life stressors for anyone. Financial issues at any point in one’s lifetime is always of concern, but become amplified as a retiree on a fixed income.
Health-care issues, coping with a spouse or friend’s failing health, becoming disabled, Alzheimer’s disease and nursing home care are also stressful concerns. As a Marketing Director at an assisted living facility, my daughter recently began prompting me to look into a private long-term health-care insurance policy. Since my grandmother lived to be 101, I think she’s concerned I’ll spend-down her inheritance.
Many people of my generation have never expected a perfect alignment of the planets to collide and cause a recession at the exact moment many of us will be retiring. Will we be able to live the lifestyle we always wanted to?
Before you can deal with any stress having to do with retirement issues you’ll need to identify the source of what’s causing it. Limit your exposure to current events news focusing on crime and increase time spent doing things you actually enjoy. Exercise and time spent on your favorite hobbies are great stress relievers.
Seeking professional advice from your accountant, lawyer or financial planner is the best way to educate yourself and get a handle on exactly what’s going on with your investments. Once your questions are answered you’ll find that in and of itself will be a huge relief.
Keep your options flexible and realize that not all decisions you make will be carved in stone. The changes in your day-to-day life may feel uncomfortable in the beginning but will settle once you adjust into a new routine.
Reward yourself for all your years of hard work and try to do at least one thing that has been on your bucket list!
Photo of Boaters, Copyright StockXpert
Republished from TypeAMom.com, Editor 50-Something Moms
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