Coping with Top 9 Stressors of Retirement

Can Retirement Cause Stress - Rebel Retirement

There’s a unique set of challenges that come with retirement. So, yes, retirement can cause stress. But, stress is a normal part of life. However, with retirement comes aging. This combination may test us more than any other life-changing event we’ve encountered up to this point.

We’ll face many changes during the next phase of our lives. It’s how we handle them that’s important.

While many situations can create retirement stress and anxiety, I’ll look at 9 retirement stressors and give tips on how to cope.

1. Fear of Loneliness 

Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me. – Anne Hathaway


Lonely man - Rebel Retirement
Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay


Understandably, the fear of loneliness often tops the list of retirement worries. That said, more people 62 and over live alone than ever before. And the probability of living alone increases with age.

However, contrary to popular belief, living alone in retirement doesn’t have to be a bleak and solitary experience. In fact, many retirees find that living independently allows them to thrive in ways they never could when they were responsible for raising a family or juggling demanding careers.

With the right mindset and a few intentional choices, living alone in retirement can be a fulfilling and even joyous experience.

If loneliness is a concern for you, these tips from WikiHow on how to cope may help

2. Worry about Getting Older/Looking Older

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m going to be 60. I always say there’s no point moaning about getting older, when there’s nothing you can do about it. But still, I do find it quite funny. I look at that number, 60, and I think, ‘Really? Me?’ -Twiggy


girl with guitar - Rebel Retirement
Image by jools_sh from Pixabay


Boomers were obsessed with youth. Indeed, some of us still are. As adolescents, we didn’t trust anyone over 30. Now that we’re over 30, getting older is one of the concerns that cause retirement stress. Intellectually, we know it isn’t worth worrying about.

However, accepting that we’ve become The Golden Girls and Grumpy Old Men is strange.

I see nothing wrong with looking good, keeping fit, and maintaining youthful vitality. I think once you succumb to being old, you will get old.

Growing older is part of growing up. And it’s better than the alternative of not getting older.

If your mission is to look younger, check out these tips on How to Look Younger. 

3. Anxiety about Failing Health

I think that age as a number is not nearly as important as health. You can be in poor health and be pretty miserable at 40 or 50. If you’re in good health, you can enjoy things into your 80s. – Bob Barker


Sleep - Rebel Retirement

We’ve all heard it. Save for retirement because if you don’t, you won’t have enough money to cover the medical expenses when they arise.

What a bad seed to plant into someone’s psyche! It’s no wonder that the thought of failing health causes retirement stress.

There’s no denying that our bodies change as we age. But that doesn’t mean that we should anticipate illness. Genes play an important role, and, yes, it’s beneficial to have parents that were in good shape both mentally and physically.

Yet, studies indicate that you can strongly influence your health and longevity with positive habits.

Daily spiritual practice, regular exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition go a long way to avoiding a trip to the doctor.

Visit the Academy of Sleep Medicine for more on the health benefits of sleep.

4. Fear of Not Accomplishing Goals

An important part of any focusing regimen is to set aside time at the end of the day – just before going to sleep – to acknowledge your successes, review your goals, focus on your successful future, and make specific plans for what you want to accomplish the next day. -Jack Canfield


live-your-dream-Rebel Retirement
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay


This is a common fear – especially when we realize the day is over and we didn’t make time for something rewarding, an activity we find meaningful.

We must make time for our purpose. With that said, accomplishing worthwhile goals takes commitment, discipline, and faith.

To alleviate retirement stress, find your daily step-by-step program, and reward yourself for small successes. Don’t let the lack of achieving your goals cause you anxiety. Avoid retirement stress, and take baby steps to achieve your goals.

Vanessa Van Edwards, the brainchild of The Science of People is one of my favorite go-to behavioral investigators for understanding body language and honing people skills.

Visit Vanessa’s article, Goal Setting: 5 Science-Backed Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Goals, for a unique perspective on how to accomplish all of the goals on your list.

5. Terrified of Losing Independence

I value my independence a lot, and the thought of having to lose that due to age or any other reason terrifies me. -R. Madhaven


Nursing Home - Rebel Retirement
Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay


The fear and anxiety of losing independence and having someone take care of us is a real concern for baby boomers.

Most of us want to age in place and the thought of being put in a nursing home is a fear worse than death.

What can you do? Prepare in advance for how you want to live as an elderly person. Strive for independence, and take measures now to stay energetic and independent.

Forget the idea of moving to a retirement community of 55 plus. A big disadvantage to these communities is the lack of young people. You’ll get older quicker being around oldsters.

Read: Should I Move to a 55+ Retirement Community [Why I Wouldn’t]

6. Losing Mental Processing

I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach. -Mary Roach


Senior moments are becoming more common for Baby Boomers and it’s scaring the shit out of them.

Everyone has brain fog now and then. However, when you’re older and have difficulty remembering something, it can be scary.

The good news, however, is that cognitive function need not decline as you age.

Research shows that your brain can grow in capacity and efficiency if you continue to stimulate it.

Memory exercise is an excellent way to keep your brain fit for life.

This video by the Memory Foundation will help you get started exercising your brain.

7. Afraid of Boredom

There’s no excuse to be bored. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes. But there’s no excuse for boredom, ever. -Viggo Mortensen


Bored Baby Boomer Man - Rebel Retirement
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Boomers who’ve been in the workforce all of their lives worry about retirement boredom. Their jobs occupied much of their time and they don’t know how to fill their extra time.

They’ve identified themselves with their job and many have not learned how to occupy themselves outside of the workforce.

You have a very limited view of life if you’re afraid of being bored in retirement. Don’t be narrow-minded about your opportunities. There are countless ways to grow as a person.

Take a photography class, learn to play an instrument, listen to lectures on YouTube – the possibilities are endless.

Try and find something interesting and fun to do!

8. Dread Being with Spouse 24 Hours a Day

Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery. -Erma Bombeck
Older woman - Rebel Retirement
Image by silviarita from Pixabay


Rest assured you are not alone if you dread being with your spouse 24 hours a day.

Although, experience tells me that the thought of this is most worrisome for women.

Realistically, a spouse can get on your nerves – especially, if they have unrealistic expectations of what retirement should be like.

It’s essential to embrace change, be flexible, and encourage communication.

Retirement should be a harmonious experience for both husband and wife.

Read: How to Survive Your Husband’s Retirement

9. Fear of Going to the Grave Without a Legacy

No legacy is so rich as honesty. -William Shakespeare


old-books- Rebel Retirement
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay


Many people think money is their legacy. And it’s troubling for them if they don’t have a lot of money to leave to their loved ones.

While leaving a big inheritance is nice, the example you set and the wisdom you impart speak more about your life than how much money you leave to your children and grandchildren.

Do you entertain others with colorful stories, run marathons, drive tractors, knit beautiful sweaters, or write long letters?  What makes you, you?

Whatever makes you unique is your legacy. That is what you will be remembered for.

If you begin reflecting and don’t like your legacy, make changes to improve it.

Most importantly. Tell the truth. It’s the best legacy of all.


Retirement can cause stress. However, with preparation, consideration, and a good attitude, you can alleviate many of your concerns.

Source: Pew  Research

Last update for clarity: 03/12/24

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What’s your biggest fear about retirement and getting older? Please feel free to comment below. And before you go, please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter, and like us on Facebook!

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