Fear and anxiety are often good motivators to create plans of action. In the case of retirement planning, that is some welcome news. While many of us envision a blissful retirement, the reality is often different and more difficult than our dreams. The basic reasons for a tough rode to and through retirement include:

1. Savings – The lack of savings affects millions of Americans. With so much savings invested in the stock market, many Americans suffered greatly with the recent crash and are still reeling despite a modest recovery.

2. Jobs – In order to rebuild wealth lost in the crash, many older Americans are working longer. However, many employees are shrinking their staff and older workers are finding the job market extraordinarily tight.

3. Health & Dependency – As we age our health declines. Proper preparation for health and medical care requires financial planning. As important, however, are the mental consequences of declining health and, more significantly, the loss of a spouse or close friend. Depression and lack of direction are common effects of aging; be mentally prepared to face periods of depression and have strategies and plans to work through those lows.

4. Activities – If you are blessed enough to be free of work, then you will have a lot of free time on your hands. Be sure you plan accordingly so you do not suffer boredom, which can also lead to depression. Find things or activities you are passionate about, else suffer the consequences.

The path to retirement is full of planning, hard work, and dreams of a comfort. The realities of retirement, however, are often quite different. No matter what your outlook, once you get there, be prepared for further adaptation. Review the above areas and make sure that you are prepared to face the financial, physical, and mental challenges of retirement.

Source: U.S. News & World Report