Special to the Financial Independence Hub
We all look forward to retirement: complete freedom. We can do what we want, when we want, and don’t have to traipse into an office every day to join the rat race that dominates younger people’s lives.
Unfortunately, the transition to not working can come with a different set of pressures, not least the financial stress triggered by your drop in income. Current statistics show that 68% of working-age people in the U.S. don’t participate in an employer-sponsored pension plan, so this is a common anxiety that affects much of today’s retired populace.
Luckily, there are ways to combat financial stress and still relish what should be some of the most enjoyable years of your life. Here are three simple steps to help you do so:
Value yourself, and act like it
All too often, the change of routine involved in retiring after a lifetime of work can cause us to drift into a kind of daily limbo where time starts to lose meaning, and so as a consequence does our everyday life. Combat this lack of direction by actively redefining who you are without your job. What do you stand for? What do you still want to achieve? What do you enjoy doing? How do you spend your time? Take some time to reflect on these questions: brainstorming can help, as can physically writing things down or discussing them with a friend.
Make sure to avoid isolation by getting involved in regular, structured activity that enriches your life and brings you into contact with people who have a positive influence on you. This will help you keep financial worries in perspective and remind you that there are other important and valuable things in life.
Taking a holistic view to stress management is vital at any age, but especially when the years are creeping up on us. Numerous studies have shown that regular, gentle, exercise can be incredibly beneficial in staving off diseases — many of which are brought on or exacerbated by financial stress — as well putting you in a more balanced state of mind. Eat regularly and healthily, get yourself set up in a routine, and try mindfulness or meditation if you feel like your thoughts are scattered or chaotic.
Keep the benefits of retirement in mind
When financial stress starts to creep up on you, remind yourself of all the advantages of being retired. Here are some of them:
- You’re not tied to set working hours and can do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want.
- You get to spend more time with your family and friends.
- Research shows that people who retire are likely to live longer.
- You can use your free time to get fitter and healthier than before, despite your advancing age.
- You can invest your time freely in causes to help others, volunteering in organisations or privately to help those in need.
- Despite your financial stress, your workplace stress, which is a large health risk and cause of anxiety, has disappeared.
Leigh Marcos is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than taking her parent’s labrador, Ned, for a walk.