Personal Finance

5 Ways Retirement Is Scarier Than Seniors Expected

Worried senior woman
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America’s retirees are scared stiff.

Those who have reached their golden years have plenty to worry about, according to a recent survey from American Advisors Group (AAG), a reverse mortgage lender.

The organization recently surveyed more than 1,500 seniors between the ages of 60 and 75 for its Modern Retirement Survey. Participants in the survey revealed that the rising cost of living and other pressures have stoked some key fears during their post-work years.

Following are some important ways retirement is scarier than seniors expected.

1. Inflation is causing concern

Upset senior worrying about grocery prices
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Inflation remained under control for decades, lulling us into a false sense of security. But in the last year, we’ve had a wake-up call.

Two-thirds of American seniors — 66% — fear that economic inflation will damage their retirement.

The concern is especially widespread among widowed or divorced senior women, with nearly three-quarters — 72% — expressing worry. In fact, with all five of the items on this list, widowed and divorced women registered the highest percentage of respondents who said they are concerned.

If inflation has you tossing and turning at night, check out “5 Surefire Ways to Beat Inflation.”

2. Expenses are higher than anticipated

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During our working years, most of us have some anxiety about whether we will have enough money to last throughout retirement.

As it turns out, those fears are well-founded. More than half of the seniors surveyed — 53% — say the cost of living is higher than they anticipated. Once again, widowed or divorced senior women are the most surprised, with 61% saying post-work life is more expensive than they expected it to be.

3. Financial stability is hard to achieve

Senior man with no money
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It is well-documented that a majority of workers have scant savings and are just a paycheck or two away from financial difficulty. Before retiring, most of us hope to build a nest egg big enough to keep us afloat through good times and bad.

But more than one-third (36%) of seniors — and nearly half (44%) of widowed or divorced senior women — say they have accumulated less money than they expected to by this point.

Whether you are working or retired, an emergency fund is one of the pillars that support financial stability. For more, read “6 Reasons Retirees Still Need an Emergency Fund.”

4. Money is running out

Upset senior
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Few things are more frightening in retirement than seeing the needle on your savings gauge dip toward “E.”

Just shy of one-third of seniors — 29% — expect to outlive their money, a truly scary prospect. Among widowed or divorced senior women, the number rises to 34%.

5. Cash flow is a problem

Older woman with empty wallet
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Perhaps the scariest thing about money woes during retirement is that there is no prospect of future paychecks bailing you out — unless you return to work.

More than one-third (37%) of older Americans — and an unsettling 50% of widowed or divorced senior women — say they must increase their cash flow if they are to live comfortably.

The best way to boost your cash flow is to get a job, at least part time. To learn more, check out “Jobs for Seniors: What Are the Best Jobs After Retirement?“

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.


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