Why Your Mom Is Afraid To Retire

“Can you talk to my mom?” Whenever I tell someone that I’m a retirement life coach, that’s the first thing I hear. Apparently there are many  moms out there who need advice about retirement (or at least their adult kids think they do!)  Do you think your mom is afraid to retire?

Immediately, I’ll hear about how mom has an ongoing need to talk about work.  And why she wants to retire and why she wants to retire and why…

Typically mom has this “issue” about retirement. Concerned son or daughter wants to help but doesn’t know what to say. They’ve heard the same stories over and over and are looking for someone else to step in and talk with mom.  If they could retire today, they would. They keep thinking, “Why doesn’t she do something about it?”

I get where mom is coming from and why she needs to talk so much about retirement. She’s just reluctant to take the first step and set an end date. It feels so final. Retirement represents a major life transition and one that is just plain hard to deal with.

So just why is mom dragging her feet and what is she thinking about? Here are some of the things that may be going through her mind:

Retiring makes her feel old. Talking about it makes her feel old. As long as she keeps working, she doesn’t have to think about being a “senior.”

When work ends, what will she do with all that free time? Her life expectancy is 80+ years and that sounds like a lot of time to fill.

If she retires, she’ll die.  She’s heard stories all her life about people retiring, getting sick and dying before they get to enjoy their retirement. Good reason to put it off.

There’s your dad. Let’s face it. She may not want to fix his lunch every day. Maybe it works because they aren’t together 24 x 7.

She likes some aspect of working. Yes, it’s a grind, her co-workers can be annoying and she really is smarter (and older) than her boss but it’s all-familiar. How her life will play out after she retires is a complete unknown.

Keep in mind that retirement represents a variety of things to people and you may or may not understand it.

Your mom’s concerns may never have occurred to you, but they are very real to her. You may be at that point where listening to the same old story is just too much. So ask me to talk to your mom.  Talking to a retirement life coach could give exactly the help she needs to begin planning her future.


Many readers find themselves stuck in planning for retirement. Retirement Style offers a number of resources, including our 30 Day Journaling Challenge, to help you get unstuck in working towards your best retirement. If you would like to speak to a certified retirement coach about your personal journey, please contact us.

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