How a Sound Financial Management Plan Can Save Us the Stress of Retirement
Surveys showed that retirement is in the top 10 of things that people get stressed about. The thought of retirement is a boon to people because it is linked to many other factors in life such as aging, finances, and health. That’s why it needs to be talked about. We tiptoe around this topic with our parents because we are embarrassed to ask about their retirement plans. We want to know if they are financially ready for retirement because we are worried about our ability to take care of them. Does that sound selfish? No, it sounds realistic.
If your parents worked in a company that offers something like the AT&T 401k plan investment options, then they are in better hands than you think. But what if they jumped from one company to another? What will happen to their pension if they had to withdraw from it five years ago because they were laid off from work? How much will they receive each month and how much will they need to pay the bills and maintain the house? Worrying about your parents’ retirement plan will make you want to look at your own, too.
That’s why people should stop painting retirement as a paradise that those 60 years old and above can’t wait to reach. Retirement isn’t perfect. In fact, studies show that 64% of Americans aren’t ready for retirement and 48% don’t care about planning for it at all. Married people are better off while those with low educational attainment are less adequately prepared for it.
When you realized that you aren’t financially prepared for retirement, that contributes to the stress more. You’re going to think about all those lost years that you didn’t save for it. You’ll begin to dwell on the what-ifs and the maybes. What if you didn’t take that trip to Cabo and instead, put that money into your retirement fund? Stop thinking about the past. You’re wasting precious time.
What you should do is to act now. Talk to your employers about increasing your contributions to your retirement plan. They are mandated by the law to match your contribution. Whenever you raise your contribution by a dollar, you get another dollar from your employer. Try to stretch yourself thin and contribute as much as you can into your retirement fund.
Be in control of your finances. If you’re still living like you’re a college freshman who doesn’t care about what will happen 50 years from now, then you will never be ready for retirement. Whether you’re in your mid-30s or 40s or 50s, it is never too late to take control of your money. Tackle your credit card debts. Finish off your mortgage repayments. Build an emergency fund. Save as much as you can from your salary, but also think about a business on the side. If there are opportunities to earn, grab them.
Figure It Out
What are your plans for retirement? Do you plan to stay home, garden, and take care of your grandkids? You don’t need that much then. You only need to figure out how much your monthly bills will be, as well as save some money for health emergencies. But if you want to travel the world, these bigger plans will require bigger sacrifices. You need to save up as much as you can from now on. You also have to see which assets are worth keeping and which should be liquidated.
Talk it out with your partner. Are you in the same boat? What’s the game plan? Who will be the chief implementor of that game plan? You have to be focused on your goals. You cannot dilly-dally because every day is precious when it comes to saving for the future.
So What’s the Stress All About?
Acting now, having a plan, and taking control of your finances sound easy when you put it that way. But anyone who tries to prepare for the future will tell you there are roadblocks. There will be a lot of challenges that can sometimes make you think twice if you’re still trudging on the right path. There is no exact formula for a happy retirement. That’s why it’s stressful to think about retirement. People fear the unknown. They fear the idea of change and retirement is a big change.
When you have a retirement plan, stick to it. Even if it’s just small right now, commit to it. Slowly, you will grow that retirement plan. Anything worth something now started small and grew from there. Nurture your plans and goals, and you will see it come back a hundredth fold.