Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Retirement anxiety


What in the heck, you might ask is"retirement anxiety" Anxiety is the fear that something might happen in the future, as distinguished from a real fear, which is something actually happening right now. So, for example, if you wake up in the morning and fear a tornado could strike your house, thats an anxiety; if you if you look outside and there's a twister heading for your house. then that's the time to have some real fear .

So what are some of these anxieties retired teachers or those pondering retirement might have? Following are a few examples:

Financial anxiety ; The famed actress of the 1940's , May West said " I've been rich and I've been poor and believe me, rich is better". Well a retired teacher might not be rich but we sure don't want to be poor either. Here are a few suggestions for alleviating financial anxiety.

  •  Find out how much income you will have from your Trs annuity. The best route to find you answer to that question is to head down to Austin and visit TRS. I'm sure you will find them very nice folks and can give you the options on your annuity during retirement

  • Use your summer break to try out how comfortably you can live on the annuity you will receive from TRS. That is live during your Summer break on the income you will receive from TRS when you retire  rather than your regular teacher's salary.
  • Find the amount you have in your IRA OR 401k from your Human Resources Department. When you turn 59 and one half you can begin to withdraw from you IRA or 401K without penalty At 70 and one half you have  to begin taking out the money from your IRA/401k. If you haven't already started a 401 K, quit reading this blog immediately and talk to your Human Resources Department.
Find out more about investing. You could hire a financial adviser or just educate yourself. There are many superb books on investing. I'm no financial adviser, but I do have a tip. I am a strong believer in index investing and there is a wonderful website where followers of Vanguard founder Jack Bogle give wonderful, and free, advice on
          Health anxiety. Most Texas teachers, like most Americans, receive their health insurance through their employers. Obviously retirement will end that option. However retired Texas teachers become immediately eligible for TRS Care. TRS Care is a less expensive option than COBRA and most other options available for those who retire before they are eligible for medicare.. A word of caution though, TRS Care is facing a funding crisis and all retiring teachers should keep themselves aware of the options being considered to "solve" the problem. I plan on blogging about these options in the near future. Of course anyone who retires at 65 or beyond will be eligible for Medicare if they have paid in for 40 quarters. The good news is that after retirement you will have more time to develop an exercise routine to keep yourself in good health.

  • Time Anxiety . "You've got the money honey, I've got the time." Well your Honey may or may not have the money, but you'll definitely have the time when you retire. Some retirees have a really difficult time with all that spare time. So if that's one of your anxieties, here are some not so original suggestions, but I think ,sound suggestions.
  •  If you don't already have some hobbies and passions, develop some. Learn a foreign language, take a class( cooking dancing etc.,) Take up golf, tennis or some other sport
  • Strengthen your relationships. Now you actually have all that time you always said you wanted to spend with your family. Enjoy your new found time with your spouse( but not too much time) and you children and grandchildren . Also don't forget friendships. Set aside time for a weekly breakfast or lunch with your friends.
  • Volunteer. There are a plethora of organizations out there seeking someone to volunteer to help their undermanned ship. They will welcome you aboard. Call up one of your local nonprofits or visit these websites: 
  • Work part time. Working part time will not only help relieve that financial anxiety but also help build new social bonds. I myself do some substitution, but if you find that thought about as appealing as a root canal, there are many other possibilities in the world of work. For further suggestions visit:
Do absolutely nothing but get up each day and look upon it as a day to enjoy your free time. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this use of your time. You've earned all that time.

Your turn. If you have any of these anxieties or other anxieties about retiring, let us know. If you are already retired and have found a way to overcome these anxieties, we definitely want to hear from you. Your readership and comments are the key to this blog, so just scroll to the bottom of this page, click on comments and write to your heart's delight.