When most people think about retirement, they think of a new era of extra time for fun hobbies and relaxation. While these things are definitely a part of most retirement periods, unfortunately, there can also be many negative aspects of retirement as well. As we age, our health often deteriorates. In addition, although sometimes people pay off their homes before they retire, large medical or other expenses can appear. As we age, we also often see more people we care about get sick or die, which can be emotionally exhausting and disheartening. Some people in their retirement even face boredom because they lack enough social activities or miss working regularly. So while retirement (and the age of retirement, even for those who don’t completely retire) should be a time of fun and happiness, it isn’t always fun. Here are five times that retirement isn’t enjoyable.
While having more free time is usually a good thing, if you have too much free time and nothing to do with your time, you may be left feeling bored and even depressed. Too much time alone without structured activities can be difficult for people at any age, and the possibility of loneliness and boredom can be greater for people at retirement age because they experience a sharp change in routines. When you work for many years and then suddenly you work less, or you don’t work at all, the lack of structure and regular routine can be extremely difficult to get used to.
One of the best ways to combat this boredom is to seek out friends and people to spend time with, to learn new hobbies, and to make it a priority to get out of the house every day and do something.
Retirement is a time of loss in so many ways. First, you may lose your job (or at least reduce your hours), which can leave you missing the valuable professional relationships and possibly friendships that you made. Changing from working full-time or regularly to working less or not at all can leave you with a real feeling of loss. In addition, as we get older, we often lose people we love — whether literally or in a different way. You may experience the loss of a loved one to sickness or simply to aging, but you also will probably experience the loss of children growing up and moving away, or even neighbors or friends moving away.
Loss is difficult for anyone to handle, but forging close relationships with people you can spend time with and talk to will help. Also, although loss will always hurt, understanding that it is a normal part of life, and talking to a professional if you need to can help. There is no normal time frame for grieving, and it is important to allow yourself to grief the various losses that you experience.
3. Feeling less important
Not only can lessening your work hours — or retiring completely — leave you feeling a great loss, but it can also might make you feel less important. If you are used to people depending on you regularly at work, it can be strange and disconcerting to no longer get regular calls or emails, and to no longer wonder if someone is going to come interrupt you at your desk to ask for help. Although some of these behaviors might have been annoying on a regular basis, they make all of us feel important, and we sometimes miss them when they disappear.
You also might feel less important if you regularly met with important clients, and now only associate with family or friends. Even though these people might be more important to you, you still might feel less important. Even the loss of a regular paycheck that you earned can affect your sense of importance, even if you have a lot saved or you are still getting retirement pay. On the other hand, if you recently had kids move out or move away, you can also feel less important, especially if you were used to regularly counseling or helping them.
4. Health changes
In addition to losing loved ones to death or illness, you may also experience health changes and even serious health issues during your retirement. Health issues can happen at any point during our lives, but of course as we age, our bodies change, and we can experience more health issues. Being unable to do the same amount of physical or even mental tasks as you used to be can be a common aspect of reaching retirement age and beyond. Prioritizing your health can help; exercise regularly in order to stay healthy, eat well, and see your doctor regularly. There is no magic potion that can stop you from getting sick or having your body change, but taking care of yourself will allow you to do more longer, and enjoy your health longer as well.
5. Not having enough money
We all hope to have enough saved to have a healthy, relaxed, secure, and happy retirement. Unfortunately, even if you saved regularly for most of your adult life and you thought you had enough budgeted, you may retire and find that you actually don’t have as much as you need. Expenses change, and especially unexpected expenses can really derail a retirement budget. In addition, sometimes the money just doesn’t stretch as far as we expect it to.
Not having enough money to live comfortably during retirement can be an awful issue to face, and the best way you can prepare for retirement is to save as much as possible. According to Gallup, 59 percent of Americans are worried about not having enough money for retirement. However, if you are already retired and you are finding that you don’t have enough money, you may need to make some changes. Determine where you can cut costs, and if necessary, get professional help managing your money. If you really need the extra income, consider getting a part-time job.
Retirement often includes many of the best years of a person’s life, and for good reason; however, when you have to face any of these five issues, the fun of retirement can be greatly lessened.