Financial stress is nothing new. For decades, parents, grandparents, and retirees have been kept up at night worrying about how they’re going to pay for their child’s college, how to cover an expensive home repair, or how they’ll be able to handle a spouse’s unemployment.

But a new survey by the AARP has found that this financial stress seems to be growing in one area, at least: retirement.

According to the Life Reimagined survey, which was conducted among 1,026 adults over the age of 35, about 50 percent believe they will retire at an age older than their parents’ generation. While the respondents cited multiple reasons for this, most believe that they just won’t be able to afford to retire.

Adults are losing sleep over finances

The survey asked respondents a series of questions about their fears and fantasies, many of which focused on money and retirement issues.

When it came to finances, the picture respondents painted was not so rosy. In fact, half of respondents said they were kept up at night over financial concerns. In addition, 30 percent said that they lost sleep over work concerns, including not being paid enough.

Why the worries?

So why are adults facing these types of fears?

There are several reasons. One major one is the economic collapse of 2008, during which so many people lost their savings and pensions. Lots of workers are still struggling to get back to the place they were in before the recession.

Another is the fact that seniors today have a longer life expectancy than their parents did. This has all kinds of implications, many of which are positive: it means more time to enjoy the fruits of our years of labor, the chance to build stronger relationships with children and grandchildren, and more years during which to accomplish the life goals we’ve set for ourselves.

However, living longer also means having to save for more years of retirement, as well as plan more diligently for health concerns like needing long-term care or facing a terminal illness. This places additional stress on our savings.

What are retirees doing differently today?

Retirement today looks very different than it did even 20 years ago. Because of the differing concerns retirees and soon-to-be retirees are facing now, many are choosing a path that’s different from the stereotypical, golf-and-gardening one that’s been the model for retirement for so many years. They’re also looking for alternative financial options.

Many seniors decide to start businesses after leaving their careers, either becoming independent consultants in the field they’re experts in, or starting a small business in an industry that has always interested them.

Those over the age of 55 have a great deal to bring to entrepreneurial endeavors: not only do they have years of experience in the workforce, but they’ve also got years of experience managing their own finances. Because of this, seniors often bring strong financial knowledge and management skills to their new businesses.

The additional income can be a major help to retirees who worry that they don’t have enough saved.

Another helpful step for retirees to take is to start assessing their assets. At first, it may be that all that comeas to mind are things we traditionally think of as assets: a house, cars, real estate, etc.

However, life insurance policies are assets as well. And if a senior has a life insurance policy that he or she no longer needs, that policy can often be sold as a life settlement. This allows the policyholder to collect more than the policy’s cash value - often much more than the policy’s cash value.

This process involves working with your financial advisor, who in turn will work with a life settlement broker to negotiate with the secondary market. The broker ensures you receive the best possible offer for your policy from institutional investors. Once the policy sells, you receive a lump sum payment. Those who sell their policies as life settlements use the money to pad their retirement fund or pay for long-term care and other medical needs.

Are you one of the many seniors struggling with financial issues? Consider asking your financial advisor about a life settlement. Start the process easily by taking our quick, seven-question policy quiz.