There are those who begin planning for their retirement early on in their careers and already have the exact month and year that they plan on stopping work. Then there are those who say they will never retire and insist they will work for as long as they are physically able. If you fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, deciding on the right time to retire can be challenging. But if you take a good inventory of the following aspects of your life that are key to informing your decision, you will find that the answer that is right for you will quickly become clear.
As a general rule, you may need about 75% of your pre-retirement income to be comfortable. This income typically comes from Social Security, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs and other savings. Will that be enough for you to meet expenses and enjoy your free time? Check out this article from Investopedia on financial retirement readiness.
Nothing is more important than your health, and you want to be able to spend your retirement enjoying your golden years rather than nursing your health.Is continuing to work putting a strain on your health? Don’t just think about your physical health.Your mental, spiritual and emotional well-being should also be considered. If you have a health condition that can be worsened by continuing a regular work schedule, or if you find that working is putting a strain on your mental state, then it may be the right time to stop.
How will your retirement affect your relationships with the people who are most important to you? You may want to align your retirement timeline with that of your spouse, life partner or close friends so that you can spend your retirement years in the company of those you enjoy. Retirement will also give you the opportunity to have more quality time with your grandchildren.
Think about how you would fill in the following sentence: “When I retire, I’ll have more time to _______________.” Most people have personal pursuits and interests that they just don’t have enough time for when they are working full-time. Perhaps you have a hobby that you’re passionate about, or want to travel to places you’ve never been. Or maybe you have always wanted to volunteer for a cause that you feel strongly about. Make sure that you retire when you still have enough time to be physically able to pursue these interests. If you need some ideas, take a look at this article from U.S. News & World Report.
Making the retirement decision can be overwhelming. There are many factors that need to be weighed, and what works for one person may not work for another.If you need more help, AARP offers a variety of tools and calculators that can be extremely helpful in determining your readiness for retirement.