Retiring. Buying a cozy house somewhere warm. Spending days by the beach, reading a book. Now, that is an ideal plan after retirement. However, I’m sure most of you already know this type of future is not only unrealistic but is becoming more and more difficult to achieve financially. While retirement can be a bittersweet moment for many, it can also bring a new set of stress and anxiety, mostly related money. Without a steady income, the lifestyle one can have starts to look different; however, that does not necessarily mean one is better than the other. In our society where working is valued so highly, what kind of condition are we going to be living under? Let’s find out.
The concept of retirement, although may sound relieving for many, can also be an exhausting thing to map out. Dan Doonan, the executive director of the National institute on Retirement Security, writes in his article, “Today, the U.S. retirement infrastructure largely is based upon individuals saving on their own for retirement during their working lives”.1 In order for the public to benefit from such structure, it becomes a requirement for the people to have a great amount of savings by the time they retire. However, the problem lies in the mere fact that many Americans do not realise how much they should be saving up right now. With inflation hitting hard, it almost sounds like an impossible ask for citizens to build up the savings they need to live a certain lifestyle they aspire to have after retirement or even to maintain the current way of life.
In addition to increases in product costs, there’s also the mere fact that our life expectancy is longer. This insinuates that unlike the previous generations where one only had to save up for 10, 15 years after their retirement, some may even be in a position to need money 30 years after retirement.2 Furthermore, many companies are leaning towards removing “defined benefit pensions”.2 These pensions were very helpful for workers to plan their retirement as it guaranteed a certain amount of money after retirement without reflecting our market’s ups and downs.2 These social changes in addition to simply the increase in costs makes it harder for the current working generation to have a good lifestyle after retirement.
These worries can compound even way before entering the golden age. It can manifest itself through overworking tendencies to compensate for the fact that it has become much more difficult to maintain the same way of life after retirement. On the other hand, the worries and exhibit itself through intense stress and anxiety towards finances and the inability to fully detach from work even during rest. These propensity for experiencing financial stress can be psychologically, emotionally, and physically draining.
What can we do? What should we do? Despite the simplicity of the question, it stands on a compounded narrative our society and culture creates surrounding money and retirement. Clearly, planning ahead is and continue to be a good idea. But beyond the practical, it is crucial to evaluate one’s emotional relationship with money. The logical mind cannot function without the emotional aspect – same goes for money.
When retirement is supposed to be the beginning of a new chapter, who wants to be worried about money and a million other things? We all deserved to have the lifestyle we have been working hard towards, right?
- Doonan, D. (2021, September 1). Stark and growing economic inequality fuels retirement insecurity. Forbes. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandoonan/2021/09/01/stark-and-growing-economic-inequality-fuels-retirement-insecurity/?sh=36b5b7466632
- Borzykowski, B. (2022, September 21). The Ultimate Retirement Planning Guide for 2022. CNBC. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/guide/retirement-planning/