Why do I worry so much about money? Iâm not a wealthy guy, but I am pretty blessed. I have my military pension of $45,000 annually, savings of $370,000, I own my home valued by Zillow
Â at $300,000 and itâs mortgage-free. I have little to no health-care costs because I am 65, I have Medicare and Tricare for Life, and I have a long-term care policy in place. Oh, I also have zero debt because I rarely use my one credit card and pay off the balance each month.
âMy brother says itâs because our parents had the âDepression mentality.â I do know that mom and dad always taught us to save something from each paycheck and to plan for the rainy day.â
That said, I canât help but worry about money. I donât consider myself a spend thrift and have charitable donations between 10% and 15% each year. Most people would laugh to be in my position, I know, but I constantly worry about running out of money. My brother says itâs because our parents had the âDepression mentality.â I do know that mom and dad always taught us to save something from each paycheck and to plan for the rainy day.
Now, here I am at 65 and ready to finally retire and Iâm scared that I will become penniless. Please, any thoughts to help ease my mind?
Scared of being penniless
Youâve been on red alert your whole life. Itâs served you well. But thereâs no point in paying off your mortgage and saving a healthy six-figure sum, retiring and having medical coverage, if you canât sit back and enjoy it at the age of 65. Sometimes, itâs good to write things down. Buy a little black book or set up a special folder on your computer so you can see all of your achievements, goals, income and expenditure in black and white. That may also provide a place for you to store your anxieties or, even better, exorcise them. Writing is cathartic and being able to clearly access and mull over your finances should help you relax.
The Financial Therapy Association takes a holistic approach to managing personal finances, including your history, anxieties, relationships past and present, and your emotional life.
Enlist a financial adviser or, better yet, a financial therapist. The Financial Therapy Association takes a holistic approach to managing personal finances, including your history, anxieties, relationships past and present, and your emotional life. Financial therapists understand that most good and bad financial decisions are also emotional ones. One obvious example: Fear and uncertainty can cause stocks to fall and, during the Great Recession, many people bought high and sold low. With hindsight, after a 10-year bull market, that didnât make a lot of sense.
Recommended: The next time you go anywhere, remember the $1 tip is dead
Money gives us freedom to make choices, but time is the only valuable resource we all have, so use yours wisely and donât waste your retirement by being eaten alive by anxieties.
Nearly one quarter (23%) of people say a lack of emergency savings is the one financial issue that keeps them up at night. You donât have that problem. Some 22% say they donât have enough retirement savings. You donât have that issue either. Another 20% fear theyâll be the victim of some kind of fraud. Forewarned is forearmed. Approximately 19% worry about losing their job. Youâre retired. Finally, 9% fret about losing their health insurance and 7% say poor credit keep them awake. Youâve planned ahead regarding your health insurance and youâve no need to take out any loans.
Also see: My boyfriend and I have two kids â should I pay off his $130,000 student debt?
Here are some suggestions from the Moneyist Facebook Group, some of whom said they shared the same feelings of financial anxiety with you. âTransitioning into retirement and from a savings-based financial mind set to spending is difficult and may take several years to get comfortable,â one member wrote. He also said you should list your fears and face them head on. They often add up to a phantom menace. Another suggested focusing on a hobby, sport or even hill-walking, something that gets you outside and looking up at the sky. Exercise has proven to be good for anxiety. Other readers suggest a part-time job to keep your busy.
Here are some ways to use the money you have earned for your retirement to buy happiness. Yes, really. They involve adopting a pet or a senior pet who needs a home, if you donât already have a dog or cat, enriching your life with cultural experiences and travel, and doing what you do already, contributing to charity. Money gives us freedom to make choices, but time is the only really valuable resource we have, so use your time wisely and donât waste your retirement by being eaten alive by anxieties. Wake up every morning and tell the Universe that you are grateful for one thing in your life. Choose something new every day, or thank the Universe for giving you the day.
Failing that, one trusty member of the Moneyist group has this sobering thought: âTrade places with me. Then your worrying will be justified.â
Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatchâs Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).
Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyist column has been published? If so, click on this link.
Get a daily roundup of the top reads in personal finance delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Personal Finance Daily newsletter. Sign up here.