Is This Why Some Retirees Are Now ‘Living the Nightmare’?

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Unhappy female retiree
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Everybody hopes to live out a dream retirement. But relatively few of us do, according to a recent survey.

Just 4% of retirees are “living the dream,” according to a survey of 498 retired Americans by Schroders, a multinational asset management company.

Even worse, another 4% of retirees say they are “living the nightmare” during what are supposed to be their golden years. Although retirees in the survey did not specify exactly what has made their retirement so miserable, they did list their top concerns.

Here are the worries that likely have turned retirement into a “good dream gone bad” for some folks.

5. Outliving assets

Unhappy senior woman with empty wallet
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Retired survey respondents who said they are at least slightly concerned about this: 68%

Saying goodbye to a steady paycheck can be scary. Most of us have worked for the vast majority of our adult lives, using our income to cover daily expenses and to build a nest egg.

That routine ends when you retire. At that point, Social Security and your nest egg are all you have to see you through what is typically a period that stretches out for decades.

If you worry about running out of money during your golden years, perhaps it’s time to learn more about the “10 Ways People Are Ensuring They Don’t Outlive Their Money.”

4. Not knowing how best to generate income and/or draw down assets

Senior couple studying finances or taxes or financial paperwork
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Retired survey respondents who said they are at least slightly concerned about this: 69%

For some people, building a nest egg is the easy part. Tapping into that money during retirement — and making sure you do it right — is a lot scarier.

How much money should you withdraw each year? What is the most tax-efficient way to make withdrawals? If these questions leave you flummoxed, a little professional help might be in order.

For tips on selecting the right person, check out “How Do I Choose a Financial Advisor?

3. A major market downturn significantly reducing assets

Bull and bear
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Retired survey respondents who said they are at least slightly concerned about this: 76%

Investing in the stock market is a roller-coaster ride. In early 2020, stocks took a huge nosedive as the COVID-19 pandemic raced across the world. Then in 2022, the stock market suffered one of its worst years ever.

In the years surrounding those two events, stocks did quite well. Still, those bearish periods are enough to keep some retirees from sleeping well at night.

2. Higher health care costs than expected

Worried senior sitting in a hospital bed
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Retired survey respondents who said they are at least slightly concerned about this: 85%

It’s simply a fact of life: As you age, you can expect more things to go wrong with your health.

That means you might have to dig into your pockets more often to pay for dental care and some aspects of your health care. And don’t expect Medicare to pay for everything, as we explain in “Medicare Will Not Cover These 10 Medical Costs.”

1. Inflation lessening the value of assets

Man looking at inflation
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Retired survey respondents who said they are at least slightly concerned about this: 89%

Whether you are young or old — or working or retired — inflation is on everyone’s mind these days. Over the past couple of years, prices have soared on everything imaginable.

Inflation is bad when you are working and trying to make ends meet, but it can be financially fatal for those in retirement.

When inflation was at its worst, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offered some good suggestions for beating higher prices in his podcast “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Inflation.”

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