Skip Navigation Download Adobe® Acrobat Reader to view Portable Document Format (PDF).
aerial view of 2 individuals shaking hands across a table.

Stressing about Retirement? Tips to Help

By: Dave Geibel, SVP and Managing Director, Girard

Your golden years should be stress-free and exciting. However, as financial advisors, we know how stressful it can be to decide when to retire and making sure your finances are ready. To help avoid retirement stressors, start planning now. As retirement approaches, create transition plan three to five years in advance of the actual date you will stop working.

Seeking the counsel of a professional wealth advisor can help plan in the most efficient way possible. There are multiple factors that go into proper retirement planning, such as:

  • increasing savings or reducing debt
  • planning a move or downsizing a home
  • health care coverage
  • when to start collecting a pension or Social Security

 These are just a few of the things to consider. All these decisions can be overwhelming to make on your own. Waiting until the last minute means all bases may not be covered in the best manner possible.

Save for Retirement or Pay down Debt?

Pre-retirees often stress about how to balance saving for retirement and other financial issues such as paying off debt. We suggest focusing on paying off high-interest credit card debt first. Low-interest debt such as mortgages and student loans should also be paid down, perhaps beyond the minimum payment, but not at the expense of savings. For example, pre-retirees should prioritize contributing to employer-sponsored retirement plans such as a 401(k). It may have the benefit of an employer match as well as the benefit of a tax deferral. Trying to tackle both is the best idea. As debts are eliminated, the funds that were being directed to paying off that loan or bill can be re-allocated to savings.

How Much Money Will I Need?

One of the most common stressors is determining how much income is needed to live on during retirement. When you no longer have a paycheck to rely on, retirees often worry they may not have enough money. We find that retirees often don’t understand how to translate savings into income. Working with an advisor can help investors determine where their income will come from and how much they will need. As advisors, we can help accurately determine how much is coming in per month versus how much is going out, and what will be supplemented by retirement plans, Social Security, pensions or other investment income vehicles.

What about Market Volatility?

Another retirement stressor is market volatility that may impact portfolios. Retirees are generally even more apprehensive about market volatility because they are getting adjusted to the idea of not having the income from their jobs to fall back on. This is where working with a financial advisor can be helpful. An advisor can help ease retirees’ minds by performing an allocation change that reduces the amount of risk facing a portfolio. Performing a stress test on a retirement portfolio based on retirement factors is often helpful and can provide insight for necessary changes to help limit the effect of market volatility on retirees.

Retirement should be an enjoyable time. Getting your financial life in order is one step in ensuring a positive retirement experience that avoids common retirement stress. If you’re looking for guidance or assistance to meet your financial goals, the advisors at Girard are here to help. Contact us to have a conversation about the plan for your financial future.


These articles and reports are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. The information in these articles or reports, and any opinions expressed therein, do not constitute a recommendation or an offer to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. Viewers should consult with their financial and/or legal professionals before making any financial decisions.