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Retirement and financial stress has become widespread throughout the western world, typically caused by the intersection of improved health and a lack of personal retirement savings.
Now the probability of a man in good health aged 65 is that he will reach age 88. For a woman her probability is age 91. No one had planned for these extra years - caused by enhanced public health and advances in medical science - and the impact has only become evident over the past 30 years.
However retirement savings only average $80,000 so you can see that - without some new ingredients into the mix - the "standard statistical" couple can expect an difficult retirement.
This article provides some possible solutions, and my book "Creative Retirement Planning" - see the advertisement at the foot of this page - offers a much broader view to address the issues about retirement and financial stress than I can explore here.
From personal experience (my wife used to say "we're going to end up living under a bridge") I can assure you that it's not too late.
Firstly, let's focus on your mental health.
And all you need to do is to develop a mantra, and live by it. Here's a suggestion: "I didn't get up this morning to be poor".
Your brain can't tell the difference between what is real and what is unreal - so whatever thoughts you flood it with, those attitudes will direct how you live.
And then distract yourself with a Purpose - establish a routine to either provide a service (probably via a profitable hobby or a commitment to volunteering).
Now this is not trite - but of course it will take some months (even with frequent applications of this mantra) for you to see the difference. But hey! - what have you got to lose?
Now there are any amount of baby boomer financial statistics that paint a grim reality for many retirees from low socio-economic backgrounds, however that is probably not you. Most of us have some equity in the family home, so why not use that and arrange a reverse mortgage. This will substantially reduce financial stress after retirement.
It is useless trying to preserve that accumulated wealth for a later day, or to provide an inheritance. It's your money, and you're entitled to spend it on yourself.
When reverse mortgages first became available, I didn't like them at all. However I now fully accept that they are valid financial tools for couples with few other financial resources.
Alternatively, rent out your spare bedroom - or perhaps use what capital that you have left to build a small annex and rent that to someone more desperate then yourself.
When you develop a retirement income strategy not only will you generate much needed additional income, both your mental and physical health will improve as your mind. You will be focused on finding solutions to issues that will continue to arise.
There are many variations on the theme of creating such a diversion - this extra income magazine contains a few and any one of them can be a winner for many retirees facing retirement and financial stress, who are looking to find happiness in retirement.
Remember, stress in retirement is all too common today.
But naturally you want to be happy in retirement - right? - but you have financial issues. Well, just decide right now that you'd be better off in South Dakota.
Rapid City or Sioux Falls - each with populations under 250,000 - have good weather and are big enough to provide retirees with everything you'll need.
Houses are moderately prices, and there are many free activities to provide both mental and physical stimulation.
In addition, the availability and affordability of quality health care is above the national average. And taxes for retirees in South Dakota are among the nation's lowest.
Retirement and financial stress are common aliments of our society, however with a drastic reassessment of your lifestyle, and then with firm hands on the tiller, you can be in a calmer space within a few months.
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