We've all heard the numbers: 10,000 baby boomers a day are turning 65, what used to be the traditional age for retirement. While not everyone can afford to or wants to retire on the big 6-5, there are a couple of things that seem to be universally on the minds of those as they near retirement:
Running out of money.
This is pretty much everyone's biggest worry. No one has devised a hard and fast formula for just how much money we will actually need in retirement. That's because nobody knows how long we're likely to live. So we don't know if we should be planning financially for 20 years of post-retirement life or 30? Or even 40! The National Institute on Aging says that the oldest old people age 85 or older—are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. In 1950, there were about 3,000 Americans who hit the centenarian mark; in 2050, there could be nearly one million, says the NIA.
So yeah, outliving your money is everyone's worst nightmare. Who doesn't long for the good old days when people fretted over whether they'd have enough to leave the kids. The question nowadays doesn't seem to be "do I have enough?" but rather "how can I accumulate more?" The short answer to that: work longer, spend less, save more.
Getting crazy bored.
Some people define themselves by their jobs -- what they do. To suddenly have that rug pulled out from under them can be discombobulating. 'What do retired people do all day?' they wonder. Not knowing how to fill your retirement days worries a lot of people. When you couple this with living on a fixed income and budget, the opportunities for travel and expensive hobbies narrow.
Nobody wants to sit around the house all day in front of a TV or checking Facebook. A study in the U.K. found that half the 787 people polled by the Skipton Building Society reported missing the camaraderie that went with their life in an office, a shop, or a factory. Four out of ten said the novelty of staying at home wore off in less than a year and they felt they were no longer intellectually challenged. In short, they were bored.
The experts advise people to consider volunteering. Some people attempt to start businesses of their own, often based on their hobbies. Who knows? This might actually not just cure the boredom problem but also put some extra cash in your wallet. The point is, you have to seek out situations where you follow your interests. Doing nothing feels fine for a while, but that while passes fast.
Loss of importance.
How does it feel when you don't feel vital anymore? Probably not so good. We enjoy feeling that our views count. We like having our opinions sought out. But retirement doesn't have to diminish your value. We know a guy who teaches at a community college, not because he has the financial need but because he likes how mentoring students makes him feel. He likes being able to influence their decisions. Yes, he likes feeling important and we don't see much wrong with doing that.
Living outside the pulse of society.
This is a little harder to define, but it basically describes what happens to you when you are no longer in the thick of things. It's when you step off the speeding bullet train of your work life and find that within a very short time, you no longer can participate in the conversation.
The antidote, of course, is to stay involved and read a lot more. Keep interested in the world around you and step up your game. Get out more -- we mean that both in the literal and online sense. Broaden your social circles and your social media outreach. If staying on top of our changing world is important to you (and we think it should be), you may need to make the effort.