5 ways of handling retirement fear

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Afraid of retirement? Really? What’s there to be afraid of? The answer to that depends mostly on how you tackle life.

But, however you tackle life, retirement is a dramatic change. Even with the best preparation, it’s a step into the unknown. There’s uncertainty. There are questions: Have I prepared enough? Will my  money last? What will I do if [insert your own fear here]?

Here are five ways that can help you tackle your retirement fears.

1. Get stoked

That’s what Carl Richards says about fear of starting ‘that big scary thing’—whatever it is.

He explains ‘stoke’ as ‘unbridled enthusiasm’.

‘Words like passion and motivation don’t even scratch the surface. Think of it as potential energy. A compressed spring waiting to explode. Stoke is what transforms dreaming into doing. It doesn’t matter what stokes you. What matters is that without stoke, you don’t have a chance of conquering your fears’.

So, get stoked or be stoked about retirement. Yes, it will create challenges. And yes, there will be times you won’t know exactly what to do. But yes, your retirement time is your own.

2. Consider the advantages

Here are some that come to mind:

  • You don’t have a boss or responsibilities breathing down your neck.
  • You are free to follow your passions.
  • You now have time on your side to do with as you want.
  • You can work on your bucket list.
  • You can travel—you aren’t tied to a workplace and its schedules.
  • You can put your energies into projects or causes you want to be involved in.
  • You now have time to build your family relationships.

These are some of the positives of retirement—and I’m sure you could add to the list. These are the advantages of the retired life.

3. Do something now

Do something toward retirement now. This will help you anticipate it. If you’re a wanna-be: photographer; gardener; sailor; craftsman; artist; flower arranger; potter; writer; tertiary student; etc, begin working on it now. This will heighten the anticipation of being able to do more of it in retirement.

For instance, suppose photography is your thing. You could join a photographic club to help you develop your skills and to also have contacts in retirement. If you want to study, you could research what’s available. There are also any number of art classes available.

Preparing for retirement is important and the more practical your preparation the better.

4. Turn the light on

As a child, sometimes the darkness would bring fear. It’s cause? A sound. A movement. A suspicion. Turning the light on mostly showed there was nothing there. Or, perhaps, that it was your mother checking on you.

Turning the light on in your retirement means checking out the realities. A good example is about deciding where to live in your retirement. If you decide you’re going to live in a favoured holiday spot, go live there for a few months before making the final decision. See this post for reasons why this is a good idea.

Whatever you’re planning, do what you can to check out the realities.

5. Take charge

One good way to treat fear is to follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s approach. She writes to ‘Fear’ about an upcoming road trip:

‘Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do.

‘But I will also be doing my job, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way.

‘You’re not allowed to suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.’

You’re in charge. Your retirement is your retirement. Don’t let fear get in the way.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com

Category: Attitude, Lifestyle, Planning, Retirement Ready?, Uncategorized

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