01 Nov 5 Things That Can Make Retirement Really Stink
For millions of people, the shimmering dream of retirement is the primary goal of work. Retirement holds the promise that, finally, you’ll have time to pursue what matters most.
However, retirement is under siege. Here are nine reasons why retirement might not be what you dreamed — and tips for turning things around so you can put a little shine on your golden years.
1. You might have to retire before you’re ready
Forty-nine percent of retirees quit working sooner than they planned, usually because of health problems, according to LIMRA, a worldwide research firm focused on the insurance and financial services industries.
Job loss, burnout and negative work conditions also can force people to retire earlier than expected, reports Mark Miller, publisher of Retirement Revised.
2. It’s no fun hanging out with your spouse 24/7
Financial planners say many couples have trouble getting used to spending more time together. Writes MainStreet.com:
“Everyone gets excited about retirement — they think they’re going to walk out the door and never look back and spend their days relaxing and traveling with their spouse, but then they get home and they find they can’t actually stand the person they’ve been married to for the last 30 years,” says Deana Arnett, senior planning consultant at Rosenthal Wealth Management Group. “I’ve seen it happen more times than I care to tell you.”
To be sure, many couples love 24/7 togetherness. But not everyone. A financial planner I know sees the toll retirement can take on marriages. He observes that husbands who have been extremely focused on their jobs are particularly likely to struggle to adjust.
Relationships can endure this transition. Finding retirement pursuits that give life meaning — philanthropy or volunteering, and not just a life built around golf and travel — will give both spouses a sense of renewal.
For some ideas, check out “12 Ways to Connect and Contribute in Your Community After Retiring.”
3. It’s boring
When you hate your boss and feel overwhelmed by work, retirement sounds ideal. But although it may be hard to imagine, retirees often long for the camaraderie, structure and sense of purpose work delivers. Not to mention the money.
The blog Retirement: A Full-Time Job tracks the evolution of former CPA Sydney Lagier, who retired in 2008 at age 44. After two months of retirement, she sounded a little surprised to find that retirement hadn’t changed her much:
What will you spend your time doing after you retire? Whatever you spent your time doing before you retired, minus the job. While I’m sure my interests will evolve over the years (just as they did while I was working), I now spend my time doing exactly what I did before I retired, only more of it.
At The Wall Street Journal, a panel of experts advises taking on new challenges by learning, working, advising, volunteering and experimenting. One aging expert says she learned that saying, “yes” to new experiences opens doors to much-needed variety.
4. Working until age 70 may not be an option
Nearly 75 percent of preretirees surveyed by LIMRA said they expect to work in retirement. But life’s realities often intrude on such plans. Today, three-quarters of retirees are not working, LIMRA says.
In recently published research, the AARP Public Policy Institute says:
Extended unemployment, coupled with age discrimination and other barriers, can add to the challenges older workers face in finding a job. Even older jobseekers who do find work may have trouble recovering financially. Many end up accepting jobs at lower pay, with fewer hours, and with limited benefits.
Depending on your profession, it might be wise to invest in disability insurance. Click here to learn about the costs and considerations.
5. Money’s tight — really tight
Social Security pays only $1,290 a month on average, according to October 2015 figures from the Social Security Administration. In addition, most retirees have very little money in savings. In its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employment Benefit Research Institute looked at the savings of current retirees, not including the value of a primary residence or a defined-benefit pension, reporting that:
- 26 percent have less than $1,000 in savings
- 10 percent have between $25,000 and $49,999
- 10 percent have between $50,000 and $99,999
- 12 percent have between $100,000 and $249,999
- 14 percent have $250,000 or more