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Overcoming retirement anxiety: Facing your financial future with confidence
Despite spending much of our working lives aiming towards retirement, for many people, it is a destination shrouded in mystery.
After all, not everyone has a clear idea of when they will get there or what it will look like when they do.
This is down to the fact that retirement is dependent on a number of important variables, not least our personal finances. Over time, our ability to balance earnings and outgoings with savings and investments has a major influence on the strength of the financial foundations we set down for later life.
Any changes to these elements, including unexpected financial shocks, can have a knock-on effect for decisions about the timing and the type of lifestyle we can expect to enjoy in retirement.
An uncertain view of retirement
In recent years, the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic and the strain of a cost-of-living crisis have prompted retirement uncertainty for many people. This appears to be particularly apparent among the Generation X cohort of adults born between 1965 and 1980, with research showing that only around a third (35%) of people in this age bracket are confident about retiring by the current state pension age.
This is set against the fact that a higher proportion (38%) expect to be working beyond the state pension age, while just over a quarter of people (27%) say they are uncertain about when they will be able to retire.
These findings were underlined by a separate study, which found that around a third (32%) of people aged 55 or over have pushed back their planned retirement date since the pandemic, with many citing financial limitations as the cause.
Saving enough for today and tomorrow
Worrying about what your personal finances will look like in the post-work stage of your life – sometimes referred to as ‘retirement anxiety’ – can be driven by various factors. Some people, for example, are burdened with fear that the level of their pension will not be sufficient to support several decades of retirement.
For those in Generation X, this is a possible symptom of falling into the ‘pension gap’ – a term that describes neither having been included within the Defined Benefit pension schemes offered to older generations nor having been encouraged to participate in Defined Contribution schemes, as has been the case since the advent of auto-enrolment.
It is estimated that as many as two-thirds (66%) of this generational cohort will have inadequate savings by the time they reach retirement age, partly as a result of falling into this gap.
There are also those within Generation X whose ability to plan for the future can be compromised by the financial realities of the present. This could be in the form of supporting elderly parents or providing for children, whose futures might also present a financial concern. Indeed, when it comes to passing on wealth to offspring, an estimated seven in ten parents worry they are not saving enough.
Building a clearer picture
There might not be a single, simple fix for retirement anxiety, but there are several steps an individual can take to ease the pressure. Firstly, given that uncertainty can be a breeding ground for worry, an important first step is to get a firmer grasp of the facts.
This includes understanding the reality of your own financial situation, assessing the value of any pension pots you might have accumulated over your working life as well as any other savings and investments you might hold. It also includes developing a clearer view of the expected demands on your finances in retirement, which should include an authentic appraisal of realistic outgoings.
In support of this aim, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has established a series of theoretical Retirement Living Standards, which can be useful for developing a more detailed picture of your own financial future.
Being proactive about planning
Bringing all these factors together, you can then calculate how long you will need to work for in order to accrue an appropriate level of savings. For some, this could mean pushing on beyond the state pension age to facilitate a level of additional income, whether in full-time work or by transitioning into semi-retirement and working on a part-time basis.
Aside from the financial considerations involved, some find that maintaining a level of professional activity can also deliver additional benefits, perhaps providing a source of purpose in later life that can contribute towards overall wellbeing.
Seeking out the help of a financial adviser can also be an effective strategy for addressing retirement anxiety. Irrespective of your stage of life, they can offer guidance on managing your wealth effectively, not only helping you visualise what the world of retirement might look like, but also turning that vision into a reality.
The information contained within this communication does not constitute financial advice and is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to such information. Vintage Wealth Management or any of its associated representatives shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the content of this communication.
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