I’m in my mid-fifties now – that sounds very weird to me, but it’s true. My youngest child is going into year 13 next year and, if all goes well he will be moving out next summer. So, although it still seems too soon, my husband and I have started thinking and talking about our retirement – when he plans to leave work and what we plan to do with ourselves when we are not supporting the children anymore.

It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people will reach retirement age in the UK in 2022. Many people count the days until retirement because it has immense potential to be the most relaxing and fulfilling phase of life. Financial experts encourage everyone to save for retirement to avoid long-term regret, and many individuals take this advice seriously. However, there are many obstacles you may encounter that can derail even the best retirement plans. Below are some factors that can negatively impact your much-anticipated golden years of bliss.

1: Boomerang children

It may surprise you to learn that your children could be the biggest threat to your retirement plans. When I talk to my friends about the imminent empty nest with my son leaving home next year, the most common comment I get is “ah, yes, but they always come back!” Boomerang children is the term that has been coined for kids who return to their parents’ or grandparents’ houses after moving out.

Loughborough University researched this phenomenon quite recently. They found that the percentage of single, child-free 20-to-34-year-olds living with their parents increased by 55% between 2008 and 2017. Many financial experts agree that boomerang kids could harm your retirement if you share too much of your retirement money with them, which is often the case. You may even be forced to re-enter the job market to make ends meet if your grown kids are syphoning off your retirement money. That is why it is essential to teach children good financial habits as early as possible. This way, they can learn self-sufficiency and be financially independent enough to stand on their own instead of constantly relying on you.

2: Debt

A reported 63% of UK adults had personal debt in 2019. Debt is a big hindrance to the concept of retirement in various ways. For starters, having debt can delay your retirement date. If you still have bills to pay off and a need for regular income to service the debt, giving up your job to relax and spend more time with family will hardly be your biggest concern. Additionally, debt limits your retirement choices significantly. The money you could have used for travelling as often as you wish or enjoying your hobbies will necessarily have to go towards paying off your mortgage, car loan, and credit card debt, among others, with interest. 

Furthermore, debt weighs on your mind, making your retirement less enjoyable. You may even stress about how to meet obligations and may develop anxiety and other health issues, which bring even bigger bills. Your relationships may also be strained if you have too much debt that weighs on your mind. Therefore, it is prudent to find practical ways to resolve your debt issues, like learning how to apply for an IVA. Steps like this will help you repay what you owe sooner, preventing debt from putting a dampener on your golden years.

3: Inflation

Inflation is also a huge threat to your retirement years, and you will undoubtedly be affected by it one way or another. Over the course of your years of active service and retirement, inflation will steadily erode your retirement savings’ purchasing power. Therefore, keep in mind that expenses like food, transportation, and healthcare will cost significantly more in your retirement years than they do in the present. A great way to counteract this phenomenon is to invest in real estate, stocks, and other investments that grow with inflation.