Overcoming Retirement Anxiety

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Over the last few years, there’s been so much news coverage on how the economy and stock market crash delayed retirement for many. Everyone knows retirement-age adults who continue to work because they can’t afford to retire. But another major reason older workers postpone retirement gets less media attention: they don’t know what to do with all that free time.

This may sound silly to those whose retirement fantasies are filled with sipping frozen drinks on a beach. Finally–time for extended travel, those house projects you never got around to, hobbies, and spending more time with family and friends. But what if your career role defines you? What if you currently spend most of your time at work and you actually enjoy that?

For example, 72-year old Dan is a healthcare executive and for his entire adult life, he has been totally career-focused. On the one hand, he is very ready for retirement. Dan has achieved every professional milestone he’d planned. He is tired of business travel hassles like flight delays and doesn’t want to work 60 hours a week anymore. But on the flip side, he is scared of retirement. When he considers retirement he dwells on losing his prestigious title, an office to go to and a team who relies on him.

If you are suffering from retirement anxiety, deal with it before you take the plunge. Workaholics tend to need structure upon retirement and sometimes need to acknowledge that they can’t completely retire. Dan might want to consider working part-time for his current organization or another similar one in his field. Or if he really wants to try something other than healthcare administration, maybe he should follow one of his hobbies into a part-time gig. For example, maybe he could give sailing lessons during boating season. Another option could be Dan taking a volunteer board position for a non-profit he believes in.

Sometimes those struggling with retirement anxiety need help figuring out their next step. Perhaps a few sessions with a retirement coach might help. To find a certified retirement coach in your area, check out:


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