Three Easy Steps to Reducing Your Financial Anxiety in Retirement

By Gregory Doepke, CFP®, CAP®

Gregory Doepke, CFP®, CAP®

Gregory Doepke, CFP®, CAP® Senior Consultant Independent Advisor Representative

You are retired. Congratulations! 

It has been a long time coming, and you are now enjoying your new freedom, flexibility and options as to how you spend your days. You may be spending time with your grandchildren, traveling, pursuing a new passion or just enjoying your days with your family and friends. Financially, your monthly income may consist of a nice pension and Social Security, and you have sufficient routine spendable income to live a comfortable lifestyle. You also may have a nice nest egg - money in the bank or investments that may provide you with supplemental income or serve as a source of funds for those larger one-time, travel, home or personal expenses that may come up from time to time.

Overall, your life in retirement is pretty good.  

However, at times you are a little anxious. From time to time, you experience a feeling of financial anxiety, especially in times of stock market volatility, economic uncertainty or upon listening to the mostly negative news. You are bombarded every day with the negativity that increases your anxiety. There are all the future uncertainties - health care, investment performance, long-term care or even the risk of living too long (longevity risk).

You may ask yourself:  What can I do to feel more financially secure and reduce this financial anxiety?

There are three easy steps to reduce your anxiety about your financial security in retirement.

First, consciously recognize that you are, at times, anxious about your financial security and you would like to reduce it. Once you acknowledge that you have this concern, that it is normal and that there is a solution, you can take action.

Second, ask your financial advisor if they use financial planning software that provides clients with the opportunity to analyze their financial security. An analysis of your financial security is very straightforward. You or your financial advisor input your necessary financial information to include the source and amount of your current monthly retirement income, your expenses, your investments, savings, insurance and other financial details.

In addition to the financial data, you should also take the opportunity to clarify your financial goals, as well as assess your concerns, expectations and investment risk. In collaboration with your financial advisor, you analyze your financial security to obtain a certain confidence level. During the review of your financial security, you may also simulate "what ifs" to further understand the potential impact of change — whether they be stock market, investment allocation, life expectancy or other relevant changes. For example, what happens if there is a downturn in the stock market or if you have high health care expenses? Your advisor can help you clarify your financial security in the context of all this change. With this additional clarity on your financial security, you can make more informed, smarter decisions that impact your lifestyle, your children and the coming years and feel much better!

The third step in reducing your anxiety is to schedule an annual review every year with your financial advisor. This annual meeting with your advisor will provide the opportunity to assess your financial situation in light of all the change that may have taken place over the last year, as well as offer the chance to anticipate upcoming future changes that may take place.

So there you have it! Follow these three easy steps of recognizing your anxiety, analyzing your current financial security and then scheduling an annual review with your financial advisor.

Now, you can enjoy your retirement even more! What are you waiting for? Go ahead and reduce your financial anxiety and spend your time and your energy focusing on those people, activities and causes that are most important to you!

Gregory W. Doepke, CAP®, CFP® is an independent investment advisory representative with ACG Advisory Services, Inc. He is the owner and principal of Doepke Financial Advisory, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company that provides comprehensive wealth management, investment advisory and qualified plan consulting services for ACG Advisory Services and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc.

— Topics: Retirement