You spent decades trying to figure out how much to save for retirement while simultaneously trying to provide for your family and make more money. After decades of work, you finally reach your milestone of being able to retire. You notify your boss of the great news and pack your bags with a grin on your face.
For the first six months of your retirement, everything is perfect. Even the weather seems to be cooperating, as you work on all the semi-completed projects lying around your house. You call almost all your friends and see what they are up to, having a blast talking about the good old days.
Then you hit a roadblock. Perhaps you receive a rather large medical bill or a sudden plunge in the stock market diminishes the value of your investments significantly. Whatever the cause may be, you become worried about your retirement plan and whether you will have enough money to support yourself for the rest of your life.
As you can imagine, money worries don't stop the day of retirement. Luckily, no one needs to spend their golden years worrying about how many dollars they can spend each day. Follow these five simple strategies to get rid of money anxieties in retirement.
Forget a budget. Once you reach retirement, one way to live a more worry-free life is to skip the budget. Instead, figure out how much you can safely withdraw each month and learn to live within that limit. Thinking about where every cent is going is stressful and unnecessary.
Automate fixed expenses and focus on discretionary spending. First, reduce your fixed expenses as much as possible, such as by downsizing your home or paying off your mortgage. Then automate these fixed expense payments. What you are left with each month is what you could spend. Have some fun and see how much you can enjoy life with the money you have left, focusing on what you can get instead of what you are missing.
Risk less. One of the reasons you want to shift your assets to less volatile investments in retirement is because wildly fluctuating returns can reduce the amount of money you can safely withdraw without risking running out of money. While many people want to maximize their returns, it's more advantageous for most retired folks to feel secure. That's why many retirees should lower their stock holdings to a point where the projected returns can still give them a comfortable spending limit. If you could comfortably afford 50 years of retirement from the returns of a guaranteed bank account, wouldn't you worry less about your retirement?
Consider annuities. Combined with your Social Security check, some retirees may be able to cover all their needs by buying an annuity. While annuities may not get you the best possible investment performance, they will generally allow you to significantly reduce your risk of running out of money. Imagine the security of receiving a monthly check that covers practically all of your expenses, with anything left over available for spending on wants.
Worry less, literally. Part of the problem with worrying is that negative thoughts can be relentless and we constantly remain concerned. One easy way to tame money fears is to actually schedule a set time to look at your money matters and not worry about it during the rest of the time. If you have a good long term retirement plan, you shouldn’t need to overanalyze every aspect of your personal finances in retirement.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.