Combating Retirement Anxiety

By: Jenna Savage


On Wednesday, we reported about the rise of retirement anxiety among young Americans. If you’re still a student, it may seem a little early to start thinking about planning for retirement, but a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center has shown that young Americans make up the demographic that is most plagued by uncertainties about future retirement plans. In a society where the economy has suffered a decline and the housing market has decreased in value, it seems as though the future is murky at best. However, there are some ways to reduce anxiety about the future, even if you’re still a student and have not yet established a career.

If you want to cut down on anxiety regarding your future, here are four suggestions you can follow:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. Medical costs are among the largest expenses for retired individuals. The lifestyle that you live while you are young will influence your health when you are older, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a good way to reduce the potential for medical difficulties down the line. Some ways of staying healthy include eating fruits and vegetables, including DHA in your diet, and exercising. If you start those steps now, they’ll become healthy habits that you can maintain well into retirement.
  2. Keep your debt low.
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    A little debt is necessary. Without debt, it would be impossible for many students to get a higher education. Debt also allows people to buy items they otherwise would not be able to afford, like houses and cars. However, it is entirely possible for debt to get out of hand, so making sure you don’t take on too many payments at once is important. If you gather a lot of credit card debt or spend beyond your means, it may take years for you to pay off all of your expenses, which may interfere with your ability to prepare for retirement. Be careful about accumulating too much debt.

  3. Find a hobby. Having a hobby will not only keep your mind active, but it will also give you something with which you can occupy your time. However, hopping from hobby to hobby can get expensive, especially if you take into consider the potential costs of classes and investments. Think about your interests, decide what you want to pursue, and then try to stick with it. If you can establish a hobby that will last throughout your life, then you may be able to avoid spending too much money on exploration when you’re retired and in need of activities.
  4. Save money. This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but saving money is easy to put off while you’re young, especially if you’re just trying to establish your career and you aren’t earning a high salary. However, every little bit can make a difference, and if you start saving right away, you’ll be able to accumulate a little bit of a nest egg before too long. Do your best to save a little bit of each paycheck — even if it isn’t much, it will still be money you’ll have on hand just in case anything comes up.