This Major Retirement Concern Can't Be Overlooked

Although retirement is a period of life that many workers look forward to, it can also be a period that many people worry about. After all, you're going from holding down a job to living off savings. And you're going from being perpetually busy to suddenly having a ton of free time on your hands.

The latter point might seem like a positive thing about retirement. But that's not necessarily the case.

A person at a laptop reading a document.

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A loss of identity and more

There's a reason getting laid off at work can be such a blow. Not only does a layoff mean losing your paycheck, but it can also mean losing a part of your identity.

Such is the struggle many retirees face. Not only can the shift from earning money to living off savings and Social Security be daunting, but the absence of work can leave many retirees feeling lost and unsure how to fill their days.

In a recent MassMutual survey, 16% of pre-retirees identified "not knowing what to do without my job" as a major retirement concern. And it's one you should take seriously.

You may want to set yourself up to continue working

You may be inclined to view retirement as a time to stop working, period. But before you lock yourself into that decision, be honest with yourself.

Will you be happy without a job? Or do you see yourself feeling lost and restless?

There may be a big part of you that wants to continue working in some capacity in retirement. If so, don't dismiss that feeling as pre-retirement nerves. Take it seriously -- and set yourself up to continue working once your retirement kicks off.

How do you do that? Well, you may decide you'd enjoy consulting in your former field for 20 to 40 hours a month, as opposed to putting in the 40-hour workweeks you're used to.

To make that happen, build a network of contacts within your industry before you make your retirement official. At the same time, let your employer know that you're interested in consulting work should it become available. Then, once you've separated from your employer, you can start making calls to drum up business.

Of course, you may also decide that while you'd like to work in some capacity as a retiree, you don't necessarily want to perform the same duties you did for 40 years. In that case, go out and try something new.

Start a dog-walking service if you love animals, or become a freelance photographer if you're great behind the lens. There are numerous gig opportunities you can look into that can keep you busy without locking you into a rigid schedule.

It's natural to worry about money as retirement nears. But if you're worried about losing a big part of your identity and not knowing how to fill your days without a job, then the answer might boil down to getting a job in some shape or form. And while working as a retiree might help your financial situation, it might do even more good for your mental and emotional health.

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