Ok. Maybe nothing so dramatic.
But for most people, the fear that their retirement savings might not see them through their golden age is very real. So many workers today are unable to put away enough nest-egg for their retirement.
It is one thing to adapt and cope with the challenges of retirement and retirement…and quite another to add poverty to the mix.
Does this mean that only the wealthy remain unperturbed in the approaching national retirement storm?
Well, not quite.
Despite having saved up about 200 times more savings than their less fortunate countrymen, the rich are just as bothered about retirement; but for different reasons.
According to Voya Financial, 59 percent of the American labor force is seriously worried that their retirement savings will run out on them and 74 percent have no idea of how much they will need each month to live in retirement. Both Voya and U.S Bank agree that retirees will need a whopping 70-80 percent of their current annual income to maintain their present standard of living while in retirement.
However, those that are more prosperous are generally more positive that their savings will properly provide for them in retirement. The UBS Wealth Management believes that 45 percent of wealthy pre-retirees aim to put away $1 – $3 million for their retirement, while roughly 91 percent are confident that they possess the financial know-how and tools needed to craft a solid retirement plan. And 89 percent are very sure they will have saved enough before retirement.
Yet another 91 percent claim they can accurately predict how long their saving will last once they leave active work.
The retirement concerns that tend to worry wealthy workers while common to most pre-retirees (rich or wretched) rank far below for those with less padded portfolios.
Yeah. Even on the retirement question, all worries are not equal.
The wealthy tend to worry more about leaving their careers behind and how their lives will be without it. The rich, while not always secure in their financial status in spite of high paying jobs and a huge retirement savings stash, are more concerned about the emotional impact of retirement and what to do with themselves in retirement.
While the less fortunate workers may tear themselves up about not starting to save for retirement early enough and are scared they may be unable to retire to start with; the well-to-do do not dwell on such depressing details.
It’s not as if the wealthy do not have fears; it’s simply amazing what their money can do about these fears. According to reports, 50 percent of rich retirees didn’t have any problems adjusting to the retired life, and a third took less than a year to blend in. A staggering 84 percent admit they have never been happier. And when questioned, only 19 percent of these successful seniors said they would have delayed retirement if given a chance to do it all over again.
Furthermore, wealthy investors in their sixties and seventies were quite contented with their lives, being as they were, still healthy and debt free. This figure is much higher than for any other age group of investors, even for those in their 30’s and 40’s.
So even if well-off workers face retirement with some trepidations, the real retirement often quickly proves their fears to be baseless.
Therefore, based on the experience of current retirees, the report concluded, the wealthy do not have to fear retirement, and for most, it could prove to be the happiest time of their lives.
So if the rich end up as a happy as overfed WhatsApp smileys in retirement, then what do they actually have to fear?
1. Destabilized Routine
The typical worker arrives at work by 8 a.m., goes for a 20 minutes coffee break, goes back to work, goes for an hour lunch by noon, goes back to work, and then drive home by 5 p.m each day.
OK, let’s admit it, the everyday routine of a job can be oddly comforting. Yes, even the ones you swear you can’t wait to quit. And a surprising number of wealthy workers, about 68 percent, admit they are afraid of the “structureless days” they will have in place of the familiar 9 – 5 daily grind. It seems that people balk at the idea of being responsible for filling their days with purposeful activities.
2. Missing their Colleagues
One of the major attractions of a workplace is the camaraderie which develops amongst people who spend a large part of their workday together. Human beings are social in nature, and no place is more social than a workplace.
Would-be retirees fear being separated from their soon-to-be former colleagues who they have developed close relationships with. They also fear to miss the office banter which they traded daily with colleagues.
3. Lifestyle Adjustment
While, as we’ve already seen, the wealthy ease into retirement with hardly a ripple, many of them do not seem to believe it will be so before their retirement. Wealthy pre-retirees are scared of adjusting to retired living. The problem could be that retirement is one of the biggest life changes and humans are traditionally afraid of change and the unknown.
People are hardwired to resist change. Especially when it comes to doing something different than what they had been used to daily for over 35 years of their lives. For pre-retirees, this could be a troubling thought.
4. Loss of a Sense of Purpose
A good number of wealthy workers are afraid that once they leave their job, they’ll have nothing to keep them going. While in employment, there’s always a compelling reason for you to get out of bed each morning and go to work. Maybe a career growth or to make more money to live the life you wanted. These reasons give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Wealthy would-be retirees fear not having that sense of fulfillment that comes with being part of a larger vision. They feel they will no longer be as important as they once were, that their advice won’t be sought, and their expertise will no longer be required – becoming basically “a nobody.”
With people living much longer than before, it is imperative retirees immediately seek to become involved in activities which will give meaning to their lives. This will help them live longer and happier lives. Some people die within a few years after retirement simply because of the sudden absence of enthusiasm in their lives.
5. How to Keep Themselves Occupied
With a greater part of their time spent on the job, some wealthy workers are worried about how to fill in all those idle hours once they retire. This shouldn’t be so hard if they’ll just redirect all the energy and imagination they used daily on their jobs to find activities that will keep them engaged.
Baby boomers are notoriously known to be hooked to their careers – basically “living to work.” As they approach retirement, apart from fixing up their finances, the need also to figure out how to fill their time with meaningful activities.
6. Falling Ill
This is about the most prominent fears of wealthy workers. And unfortunately, one of the most likely to come to pass as they get older, and aging takes a toll on their bodies. Majority of well-to-do workers are afraid of falling ill with degenerative diseases usually associated with old age. The fear also encompasses the deprivations they might have to go through as a result of potential ill-health.
7. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Fear of missing out is the anxiety brought on by the belief that one is not part of an ongoing excitement. It’s popularly referred to as FOMO by its perennial sufferers – millennials.
FOMO is exacerbated by social media; lounging on a couch and being only able to click ‘like’ to pictures and videos of friends visiting the latest restaurants, holidaying in a faraway paradise island, getting married, selfies with celebs at a concert. Like everyone else is in the middle of the excitement except you.
While pre-retirees’ fear of missing out might not be social media based, it is just as anxiety ridden. Many wealthy pre-retirees who have been at the center of their work world, now fear a future where they will be no longer in the thick of the action.
A series of interviews conducted by MIT AgeLab found that retirement FOMO may be causing many people to put off retirement. They found it difficult to retire and miss all the action, the energy, the people.
A recently retired executive rued the fact that while he was working, everything revolved around him, people sought his approval and input. The latest information of every type was at his fingertips, and people and ideas flowed freely through his office.
Wealthy retirement evokes imagery of relaxed silver-haired seniors strolling exotic beaches, trying out the latest gourmet cooking, or playing golf in a lush course. But it doesn’t allay the fear of many that they will be missing out on an activity, people, and for some the exercise of influence, authority, and power.
That is it. The rich aren’t much different from others when it comes to the fear of retirement. What is different is the form those fears assume.