We all like to have the odds in our favor. It is one of the best ways to protect ourselves; but is it possible to overdo it? Can we be too focused on making sure the odds are in our favor that we end up losing out in the end?
It is natural to try to protect our interests, especially when we are entering into a new adventure such as retirement. For some people, retirement can usher in a major life change in more ways than just walking away from a job. Moving to another state or another part of the country may provide relief from our harsh winters, but it can also cut us off from the social interaction of friends and colleagues that we have enjoyed for much of our lives.
There may be a cost of living increase depending on your new locale, as well as the uncertainty that the move could be something that you will regret in future years. Many people also feel a natural inclination to want to pay off any bills on the horizon, and even the not-too-distant horizon, prior to committing to retirement.
All of these worries can conspire to keep you in an unsatisfying job for much longer than you would like. When we add in the aversion to change that most people experience, it is easy to convince ourselves that what is really bad for us today will somehow produce a better life in the future. In our quest to protect ourselves from real or perceived future threats, we may consign ourselves to lives of misery for much longer than is really necessary.
If you find yourself facing this kind of a quandary, you are not alone. One way to escape this mindset is to examine each of the financial goals you are trying to achieve prior to or during your first five years of retirement. Are you being overly cautious in terms of your financial situation? Is your fear of the unknown creating roadblocks to embracing the new lifestyle you are on the cusp of embracing? It is possible to play things too safe — and to be so concerned about the future that you lose the gift of a better present.