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Getting Close to Retirement? A Few Resources to Consider


Every new retiree’s experience is different, and anticipating how you’re going to deal with your new situation can be challenging.These resources will help you get a sense of some of the challenges that await.

As you near retirement, you’re naturally going to grow more interested in what life is like on that side of the fence. You will not always find a pretty picture. A 2013 study from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) found that retirement can boost your risk of depression by as much as 40%, mirroring many other studies.

Every new retiree’s experience is different, of course, and anticipating how you’re going to deal with your new situation can be challenging. But you can—and should—be able to get a sense of the challenges that await other retirees through some resources dedicated to exactly this topic.

The resources covered below are all worth a look, but the most obvious and potentially valuable resource is fellow physicians who have recently retired. Why? Because recently retired healthcare professionals face all the same challenges new retirees have, but they have some unique ones as well, relating to the fact that they have been providing care for patients for many years. For physicians and other healthcare professionals, retirement can bring an extra edge to the loss of purpose many retirees say they feel once they leave the working world. Talk to those doctors about what the first few years were like, how they mitigated any potential down times, and what they would do if they had it to do over again.

Get Online

Leading retirement services companies—including Fidelity, Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, and many others—offer online communities for members nearing or already in retirement. These communities are a terrific place to meet like-minded people, discuss issues from travel to income to social activities; just about anything you can think of is covered in these forums. Networking from your own home is convenient, and you can respond to others’ posts, catch up on issues raised by other members, and even start your own discussion threads.

While they may require an initial registration, they are available free of charge to members in most cases. Ask your retirement provider if they have an online community and how to join.

Stay Active

Several studies, including 2014 research presented at an international conference on Alzheimer’s, have shown that older adults who maintain intellectual and mental stimulation more successfully ward off depression and even physical health concerns. Volunteering, as covered in greater detail here, can be a great way to give back and maintain that sense of purpose you may be missing. For physicians, in particular, the need for volunteers is acute.

Keep Your Finances in Order

The fastest way to add to retirement stress and anxiety is to be unsure about your ongoing financial situation. Many retirees return to some form of work. For some, it’s about giving them something to do, but for others, it’s a need for additional income.

If you’re already retired or are close to retiring, you can’t do much now to improve your income, but you can take a good hard look at your expenses, make and adjust your budget, and make changes to your weekly and monthly expenses, as needed. Living in retirement doesn’t have to mean living an austere lifestyle. But just like during your working career, living beyond your means introduces its own kind of stress.

At certain points in your life and career, retirement can seem like a magical realm where all your concerns are washed away. The reality is often quite different. Use the resources available to you to make sure your retirement is everything you imagined it could be.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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