Don’t Worry Be Happy (and Retired)!
The Top 5 Retirement Worries and How to Alleviate these Stresses

don't worry be happy in retirement

At the risk of getting this song stuck in your head, do you remember “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin?  Hum along while you review this list of people’s biggest retirement worries and the ideas for how to reduce these stresses. The list of concerns comes from BlackRock’s Global Investor Pulse survey.

Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note.
Don’t worry, be happy.

In every life we have some trouble. But when you worry you make it double.
Don’t worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy now
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy

60% of Us Are Worried About Physical Decline

Yes.  We are getting older.  And, with aging comes some degree of physical decline.

Some of the physical discomforts we experience are just tough luck, but there is quite a lot anyone and everyone can do to help maintain a good quality of life well into our 80s and 90s.

Physical Activity: Make physical activity part of your everyday life.  If you enjoy exercise, great, this part is easy for you.  However, don’t despair if running, lifting and toiling are not preferred activities.

Studies suggest that being physically active as you age can take many different forms.  Gardening, cooking, puttering in the garage are all physical activities that will keep you fit and active.  Avoid just sitting as much as possible.

Have Somewhere to Go/Something to Do: Study after study show that having a reason to be living — a reason to get out of your chair — is vital. And it can be even better if that purpose also provides you with a daily routine. Having somewhere to go on a regular basis is also proven to help keep us healthy and engaged. They say that the regular routine is something that makes work so useful to our overall well being.

Eat  Well:  If you have always eaten healthfully, then it will be easy to keep it up as you age.  If you have some bad habits, start with some small nutritional improvements — limit sugar, boost consumption of fish, nuts and legumes.

The “Mediterranean diet” offers good guidelines for eating as you age.  It can boost heart and brain health and help prevent cancer and diabetes.

Regular Checkups: Medicare pays for yearly check ups and has quite a few programs to support your well being. Early detection and prevention are great ways to avoid serious physical decline.

55% of Us Are Worried About Outliving Our Savings

There is good reason to worry about outliving savings.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the lower earning half of the population has a 47% to 83% chance of using up their assets — that’s as high as five out of six.  And, the higher earning half of the population has between 13% and 23% chance of running out.

So what can you do?

Have a Comprehensive Retirement Plan:  It can feel overwhelming to plan every detail of your finances for the next 20 to 30 years of your life.

However, the NewRetirement retirement planning calculator makes it easy to get started.  Enter some initial information about your finances, see where you stand and then start making changes and see what is possible. Every time you update your data, you’ll get detailed feedback about how your finances change.  You will learn through experience with the models.  This is proven to be an excellent method for improving your knowledge of personal finance.

Assess Your Plan Quarterly: It is not enough to have a plan.  You need to be able to adjust it at least quarterly and definitely anytime anything changes — investment returns, income, spending, inflation, and more.

Make Adjustments When Necessary: If you are at risk of running out of savings and won’t be satisfied by living on Social Security alone, you should be worried, but there are significant steps you can take to avoid this fate.

Depending on your goals and values, you can:

Use the NewRetirement Retirement Calculator to try out any or all of these ideas and discover how to achieve a secure retirement without worry.

52% of Us Are Worried About Cognitive Decline

A foggier brain. Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease. These are big concerns and scientists are furiously working to find cures for cognitive decline.

However, there are things you can do to help maintain brain health.  Here are 3 ideas:

Find a Cause and Commit to It: Gerontologist and Dean and the DeLamar Professor at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Linda P. Fried wrote: “We are a species wired to feel needed, respected, and purposeful. The absence of those qualities is actually harmful to our health.”

Develop an Intellectual Hobby: As they say: “Use it or lose it!” We know from brain research that learning new skills and knowledge, and flexibly shifting between them, is key to increasing brain health.

Create Social Habits: Having friends and seeing them on a regular basis is an important way to stay healthy and engaged.  Arrange to meet with friends for coffee each morning. Join a club. Find a volunteer or part time job opportunity. Whatever you do, be sure to make it a habit and something where you will be held accountable.

48% of Us Are Worried About Understanding How Much We Need to Save

Knowing how much you need to save can be confusing.  There are a lot of interrelated factors that go into this calculation. And, frankly it can be scary to face the overwhelming task of saving enough.

You can use a simple retirement calculator to get a general idea of what you need.  Or, you can use a sophisticated retirement planner to get a more reliable and personalized number. Using a comprehensive online tool for planning retirement can be a great way to seriously document and assess your finances and find out exactly how much you need to be saving.

The NewRetirement retirement planner is one of the the most comprehensive and powerful tools available.  Forbes Magazine calls the system “a new approach to retirement planning” and it was named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investor’s (AAII) and CanIRetireYet.

This tool will also help you discover real world ways to have enough for your retirement.

47% Are Worried About Being a Burden on Family

The National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) estimate that 22.4 million U.S. households – nearly one in four – are now providing care to a relative or friend.

Some find this task to be a privilege. Others think it is a burden. Many feel that it is both.

If you think you are at risk of needing support from family members, then you need to talk with them now.  While talking about money and health issues can be difficult, it is the only way to alleviate this worry.

Discussing your concerns about retirement with family members can help everyone understand the issues at hand and figure out solutions that help all involved parties.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

With a little work, compromise and analysis, a happy retirement can be achieved.

don’t worry
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy

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For Happiness and No Worries




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