As concerns for older people’s mental health continue throughout the cost of living crisis, financial experts Equity Release Supermarket share tips for preparing for retirement.

For many, retirement is something to look forward to and work towards for decades. 

However, at this time with the cost of living crisis having a serious impact upon our living expenses, the reality of retirement can often be rather different to those visions of stress-free, leisurely fun. 

Equity Release Supermarket has shared five tips for addressing common issues in retirement before they begin: 

Review your retirement funds
First, consider the big expenses you are likely to make throughout retirement based on your goals. This could be anything from a bucket-list travel destination to supporting a loved one in buying their first home. Make sure you have also accounted for a reasonable emergency savings pot, which you can use for any unexpected expenses. 

Then, take the approximate amount needed for these big expenses and emergency funds away from your pension. From there, work out what your average yearly budget should look like. Be realistic about your expected outgoings and the expenses you can’t cut down on. 

Evaluate your current lifestyle 
If after reviewing your finances you are concerned your pension pot won’t stretch to your needs, you may want to evaluate your current outgoings and where you may be able to cut back. 
This could involve making changes to your day-to-day routine, such as scaling back on the weekly food shop or opting for public transport more frequently. 
One solution is to downsize your home. In situations where this is not viable or desirable, another option is to consider equity release. 

Make a retirement plan
Being able to do as you please with your time without a fixed routine can feel unnatural, often leading to feelings of demotivation and boredom. To fend off those emotions, make a reliable retirement plan, mapping out your days, weeks, and even years with goals and activities that will bring you fulfilment. 

Establish expectations and set boundaries
Whether it’s taking on child care duties or running errands for friends, there is often pressure put on people in retirement to spend their newly-found free time on other people. While you may be happy to spend your time in this way, it is important that you do not take on more than you feel you can, or simply want to. 
Although it can be challenging to do so, it is important to set boundaries with your loved ones about how much time and money you are able to provide throughout your retirement. 

Expand your social circle 
A recent study by Age UK revealed that 1.4 million older people are lonely in England, with the impact of the pandemic, poor health and wellbeing, and income being cited as major factors contributing towards this. 
Before you retire, take time to make plans to ensure you will see people on a regular basis. This might involve trying to reconnect with old friends, joining a new club or volunteering group, getting a regular diary invite in for coffee with friends, or perhaps taking over your grandchildren’s school pick up once a week.