Even if you’ve saved diligently for retirement, recent statistics say that your efforts may not go quite far enough. Aging well isn’t a guarantee in our society, causing realistic worry over outliving your savings. So how can you reduce your financial stress?
While delving more deeply into savings stress may cause initial overwhelm, an honest reckoning will allow you to reduce financial worry in the long run. Find motivation and concrete steps to reduce savings anxiety, below.
Why confront later-life financial anxiety head-on?
As Supportiv author S. Rainne puts it: “Avoidance, some would say, has a time and place. However, finances are not a topic to avoid entirely. If you find that financial issues stress you out, it may be time to face them head-on and with action in mind.
“Don’t hesitate to do what you need to do, and challenge any shame you may feel if you need to ask for help. No matter your circumstances, know that you may be less alone than you think. It’s vital that your needs are met.”
Great. So how do I make sure my needs are met?
How can you gain financial confidence? How can you reduce your worry about outliving your savings?
1) Look into public support
Decrease the rate at which your savings deplete by reducing costs as you go. Search for senior benefits available to you, with the National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckUp website.
Find your state’s public benefits by browsing AARP’s list of state-specific Public Benefit Guides (available in convenient, downloadable PDFs).
If you qualify for food stamps, consider using them to avoid depleting your savings. Apply online or allow someone to help you apply.
2) Get on the same page with close friends
Unfortunately, social influences have a major impact on how well we stick to our money goals. Learn to communicate openly about your budget, in order to avoid overspending in social contexts. As a previous Supportiv article on financial anxiety notes:
“Sometimes it’s embarrassing to talk about money, but setting spending boundaries can be really helpful. Be transparent with your loved ones about what you can contribute or afford without suffering in other parts of your life.
They shouldn’t want you to feel stressed…and if they shame you for your situation, that’s a good way to tell they don’t have your best interests at heart.”
3) Let your kids in on your financial stress
Did you know that 79% of parents help their adult children financially? Obviously, you’re helping for a reason, but maybe it’s time to reassess the extent given your concerns.
Regardless, at least make your child aware of your financial reality, and ask if they can identify concrete ways to reduce their financial dependence on you.
4) Consider going back to work
If you decide that you need to resume work in order to maintain your savings, Debt.org shares that “the Senior Community Service Program (SCSEP) pays anyone over the age of 55 minimum wage to work at government or community agencies.”
Look for mentally fulfilling jobs
Tutoring local high school students: connect socially, keep dementia at bay.
Ushering at a nearby theater: make friends, get cultural enrichment, maybe get some perks.
What other sources of passion or stimulation might you be able to monetize? If you can find a source of income that also enriches your life, you’ll offset expenses exponentially.
5) Crowdsource ideas from peers
The latest options and breakthrough solutions for familiar problems aren’t always well-publicized. But as they say, there’s power in numbers. Whether you ask friends or peers online, you may find out that someone else has stumbled on a community resource, online initiative, or public program you had never heard of. Even a helpful mantra to reduce your worry is better than nothing!
While it’s not possible to change the structural and societal factors that cause financial anxiety, it is possible to take steps on your side of the equation. As you can see above, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the emotional impact of savings stress in later life.
And if you truly feel powerless to change anything in your financial situation? Venting about it in a productive setting can help you manage the unavoidable stress.