Retirement Planning Fears: Tips For Older Americans Losing Sleep

If you're over 50 and worry about having enough money in your retirement and are losing sleep over it, you're not alone.

And counting sheep and a new mattress aren't going to cut it.

You have to take steps to take control over your retirement planning to reduce your unease and give you peace of mind so you can sleep better, says Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at, an online credit card marketplace.

The firm conducted a survey that shows retirement being the number one cause of worry for all Americans, with half between 50 and 64 losing sleep over it -- the most of any age group. And to state the obvious -- the more money you have, the less you lose sleep over your retirement strategy. Only 37 percent of those earning $75,000 or more are losing sleep over retirement fears compared to 48 percent of those who earned $50,000 to $75,000.

"They say money can't buy you love or happiness," Schulz says. "But our survey shows it can buy you a better night's sleep."

So we had our top advisor weigh in on how to conquer your retirement fears so you can catch some better ZZs:

TAKE CONTROL People lose sleep when they feel out of their own control, so no more excuses. The best way to help yourself is to try and take back that control through action, even if it's small. That applies to both financial and personal issues -- but finances are more in your own control. "Whether it's cutting back on some of your expenses or adding a little more to your savings," Schulz says, "small things can help you feel like you have a little bit more control over the situation."

STOP PROCRASTINATING MAKING A BUDGET One of the best ways someone can take control of their finances is to get a firm handle on how much money is coming in and going out. "Take a week or two and write down every single thing you spend money on -- from a pack of gum to a mortgage payment," he says. "Then, once that's complete, take a look at what you've found and prioritize those expenses. Chances are you can find some costs to eliminate or at least shrink. At the same time, make a list of all your different sources of income so you know exactly how much money you take in."

MAKE A PLAN Once you have all of that information, you can start planning what to do. Can you contribute another 1 percent or 2 o to your 401k from every paycheck? Can you open an IRA? Can you make bigger payments to your credit card? "It's important to have some sort of plan that will help you feel better about where you're at," Shulz says. "That way you can not only take a look at what you spend on things and reduce expenses, but you can take a look at stuff that you may be able to sell to have a little extra income. That will help build up that retirement savings and have some sort of impact on addressing the problem."

CHANGE EXPECTATIONS It's possible that retirement for those 50 to 64 won't look the same as it does for those who are 65 and older. "Looking at your budget may also inspire you to look for more income," Shulz says. "Could you save money by lowering the costs of your investments? Could you find a side hustle that could bring in a bit more income? That's something that will require a bit of an adjustment of expectations, but if you embrace that and see it as a challenge, it can be another way to help you feel a little more in control of your situation."

For some folks, this process can be a revelation. For others, it won't make much of a financial difference. Do it anyway. If nothing else, it will empower you and give you a greater sense of control. That's important and might just buy you a better night's sleep.

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