Can Crisis Prepare Us for Retirement? 4 Lessons We Can Learn

If the past several months during the COVID-19 pandemic have made one thing clear, it’s that a crisis can arise at any time. Unfortunately, you may not just be experiencing health concerns right now, too. Isolation comes with its own set of challenges, and you’ve probably had to rearrange some of your plans on a dime. One of the other major consequences of the pandemic has affected the stock market. This may or may not affect you personally, but it can give us some advice for dealing with future crises.

Here are some lessons we can learn now that will benefit you in retirement.

It’s important to have a plan.

When you have a goal, you also have to plan how you’re going to reach it. While you may not stick to your financial plan exactly, it’s still an important tool that keeps you moving in the right direction. So it’s no surprise that people who enter a crisis with a financial plan fare better than those who don’t. As long as your goals don’t change, your plan will stay the same. Regardless of any other uncertainty that arises from a crisis, your plan will help you understand your priorities.

Make a schedule. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers across numerous industries to work from home. For people not used to working from home, this is a difficult change. It requires getting used to an entirely new schedule and routine, and even then it’s easy to lose track of the days. If anything, this highlights the importance of making a schedule and finding ways to fill your days.

Find your purpose.

Americans spend more hours at work than any other country. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why so much of our identity and purpose is tied to work. It’s normal to re-evaluate this every once in a while, though. It’s also totally normal for retirees to go through this after retiring. While it can be a cause for existential anxiety, by anticipating these feelings you can think about what really matters to you, and what you’d like your purpose to be in retirement. Maybe it’s teaching, volunteering, or simply spending time with your grandkids or loved ones.

Get involved in a community.

Aside from the drastic changes to routine, one of the most difficult things about the pandemic is being isolated from others. Humans are meant to be part of a community, and this doesn’t change in retirement. It’s important to stay connected to others. You’re engaging and building connections, and this can help you ward off depression.

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