Retirement Planning

Stressing About Retirement? Tips to Help

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 how to make 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, a Univest Wealth Division, are here to help. Contact us to have a conversation about the plan for your financial future.


Girard is a marketing name used by Univest Financial Corporation to provide (1) investment and wealth management, fiduciary services and trust services through its subsidiary Univest Bank and Trust Co., (2) specific fiduciary and investment advisory services through Girard Advisory Services, LLC (3) securities products, insurance products and brokerage services through Girard Investment Services, LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and (4) investment management and related products and services for Pennsylvania municipal entities through Girard Pension Services, LLC. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, not a bank deposit, not bank guaranteed, not insured by any federal government agency and are subject to risks, including possible loss of any principal amount invested.