Dealing with Retirement Anxiety

Do you ever have times in life where your stomach ‘knots’ and you really can’t understand why?

I know I do!! 

In those situations, I find myself ‘processing’ the feelings/emotions with someone to work through and understand what’s going on.

I often see this with clients, particularly those who are looking at retirement.  It’s an anxiety/concern/uncertainty that has probably never surfaced before, as most of us only retire once.

I read an excellent article by Richard Dinham* recently, titled “Dealing with Retirement Anxiety”, and thought I would share just a small part of it with you:

Running out of money

Pre-retirees biggest fears is running out of money whilst in retirement and, closely related to this, the fear of not having enough income to live on.

How long your money will last in retirement essentially depends on three variables:

  • how much you start with
  • how much and when you draw income down from capital (spending)
  • the characteristics of your investments.

When forced into early retirement, people don’t have full control over their starting capital and it’s probably less than they planned. But retirees do have control and agency over the other two variables.

Deferring or reducing expenditure could help sustain the savings pool for longer. This lever is often used by many retirees as they adapt to their lived experience of spending needs and wants, and their experience with investment outcomes. An important element of course is their lived experience of their investment portfolio. Retirees who have a plan in place and an investment framework for dealing with income needs, market volatility and maintaining suitable risk exposures, will likely feel more in control and more resilient to the inevitable gyrations of the investment markets.

Getting help with how to invest

For many people who are not familiar with financial markets, professional advice can be useful. The preferred source of professional advice on retirement, according to the Fidelity survey (New life, Old life – Jan 2023), is a professional financial adviser at 55%, followed by accountants at 23%.

According to research, the five most common questions pre-retirees have about retirement are:

  • How much do I really need?
  • Am I on track?
  • What are my options?
  • How much should I be saving today?
  • What can I afford to spend in retirement?
Sitting down with an adviser and asking these questions could be beneficial to the client in demonstrating the value of professional financial advice.



*Richard Dinham is Head of Client Solutions and Retirement at Fidelity International.

Director | Certified Financial Planner ® | Grad Dip FP

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