Retirement is something far into our futures. We don’t know much about it, and it isn’t easy to plan for. What retirement fears do you have and do you feel prepared to take any actions towards them?
Many of us continue to drudge through medicine because we want to save enough for retirement. It’s normal to have retirement fears. With its taxation system and monetary inflation, the financial industry has contributed to that.
A Safe Retirement
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a safe retirement. You could protect against every potential event, and something unexpected might still happen.
It’s not an excuse to not save anything and avoid any planning. I have a few things I fear most when it comes to my retirement; I enjoy thinking through those and planning for them.
However, I can’t plan for an unexpected early diagnosis of dementia or significant economic collapse.
This is the first go-to option for many. We open 401k accounts and invest in index funds. Or we might put a lot of money into our homes to cash those out in the future.
Money can solve a lot of issues. But not always the best defense against major health problems, divorce, or major natural disasters.
With a $10 million nest egg, I might be less fearful. But I am not sure that most people with $10 million in the bank have fewer retirement fears than I do.
Another way to solve the fear factor of retirement might be to purchase insurance products.
There are long-term care insurance products, health insurance, annuities, accident insurance, umbrella policies, and many other such products.
These can be excellent products, and they can protect against certain financial disasters, but if you have thoughts of uncertainty when it comes to retirement, these won’t do much.
Having a Family
I don’t have kids and am not planning on any. So I always get asked, “But who will take care of you when you get old?”
Looking around at my friends and my patients, it’s not sure that your kids will care for you. Though reproduction has traditionally been a way to protect our businesses and ancestry and provide us with care in old age, things have changed.
On the flip side, you might have to take care of your kids in your old age.
Loneliness deserves its discussion. The world is getting bigger and bigger, and FOMO is legit. You can be walking next to an ocean of people and feel utterly lonely.
It’s hard to make new friends as you get older. Such an observation makes you wonder how bad it might be when you’re in your 70s or 80s.
We enter relationships because we feel lonely and stay in bad ones to cure loneliness. I am sure each person has to contend with this one independently. However, nothing has felt more meaningful for me than being okay with being alone.
Maybe most of us don’t fear being homeless, at least not literally. But I believe many fear not having a place to call home.
Maybe there is a fear that you might end up in a nursing home. Or that you won’t be able to live with your adult kids (or have to live with them). Housing is a factor for many of us.
Housing is the one stronghold most governments have over humans. It’s the one sure way they can tax people and control the economy – both in a good and bad way.
I feel secure knowing that I can be comfortable in an apartment in Los Angeles as much as a tiny studio in Portland or a little farm in the middle of Spain.
Naturally, I invest money now to have an income in the future, such as when I am retired and no longer able to work.
But is it likely that I won’t be able to work in my 70s, 80s, or 90s? If I make it to that age, I’ll still be able to do something productive. Maybe something for which I can earn an income.
Our fast-paced modern society doesn’t look kindly on the elderly. They are a burden more than they are an asset. But that’s only the case in the mainstream economy.
I can be a landlord at 90 or a shop owner at 80. I can even be a day trader, speculator, or flip homes and cars.
Sense of Purpose
It’s normal to believe that you don’t serve a purpose if you’re not working. What a sad and negative thought.
I can fulfill my sense of purpose just sitting there picking my nose. An extreme example, yes. But I could read a book, make a meal, clean the house, go for a walk, and talk with friends. All of these work in some way. All of these actions fulfill a sense of purpose.
My sense of purpose came from working in the past. Now it comes from being productive. Hopefully, in the future, it will come from just being in the moment, being present, and not making others around me suffer.