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1. An excess amount of stuff

Minimalists would be the first to tell you that you don't need material things to find happiness. While that may be true to some degree, it's absolutely fine to spend money on things you enjoy if you can afford it.

However, retirement can also mean fixed incomes and downsizing, in which case you may want to consider how much stuff you’ve accumulated over the years.

From donating or selling artwork, clothing or old pieces of jewelry to cutting back on subscriptions, dining out and other luxuries that no longer fit your budget, it can be a difficult adjustment to declutter.

However, with an influx of online auctions and local marketplaces, selling valuables you no longer have use for could be an easy side hustle that keeps you busy during those early days of retirement.

Put the proceeds from your sales into a savings account and reframe the situation as something positive that will help you financially in the long-run.

According to research from AARP, 37% of American adults over the age of 50 are worried about meeting basic living costs, like food and housing.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to let go of in retirement, you may want to talk to a financial adviser. They can review your income, savings, lifestyle, and retirement goals to help you set priorities and stick to a budget.

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2. Moving on from your career

It's natural to link your identity to your career to some degree, and it's not a bad thing to take pride in the work you do. But that can pose a problem in retirement when you suddenly feel like you've lost your sense of purpose — even while simultaneously getting back eight hours a day.

If you find yourself craving the adrenaline rush that comes with holding down a career, consider a side hustle or starting your own business on the side.

Conceivably, you wouldn’t have to bring in the same paycheck you did when working full-time due to having Social Security and other additional savings, so you can take the financial pressure off and find something that’s meaningful to you.

A 2023 Retirable survey found that, of the respondents who stated an interest in holding down part-time work during their retirement years, 71% wanted to do so to supplement their retirement savings while 65% said they just wanted to stay busy and socialize through work opportunities.

3. Losing your disposable income

The comforting thing about working is that you can rely on a steady income. This gives you peace of mind in the face of unplanned expenses. It can also make it easier to spend on non-essentials with less stress.

However, according to a Nationwide Peak Retirement report, almost a third (32%) of respondents admitted they didn’t feel financially comfortable.

What if you get sick, or your home is in need of major repairs? Do you have enough savings squirreled away to cover those unexpected expenses without having to dip into your savings?

Meeting with a financial adviser — ideally, well before you’ve retired — can help you determine a savings target. If you find yourself among the 56% of Americans who feel they’re lagging behind in their retirement savings, you could always postpone leaving the workforce in order to get to a place where you’re able to have more financial flexibility.

Another solution could be to work part-time during retirement for extra income. This may allow you to strike a great balance between days that are mostly your own and having additional money to pay for not just essentials, but the things you want to enjoy in your golden years.


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Maurie Backman Freelance Writer

Maurie Backman is a freelance contributor to Moneywise, who has more than a decade of experience writing about financial topics, including retirement, investing, Social Security, and real estate.


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