When is the Right Time to Retire?
How do you know when its time to retire from your current job and move onto the next journey in your life?
You probably noticed I did not specifically say retirement. Many years ago, your retirement was determined by your employer and the government. Many workers had pension plans that kicked-in at age 65 along with Social Security and Medicare. So, when you retired was fairly simple - it was when you turned 65. End of story.
But not now, for today’s workers, retirement has multiple meanings that I will discuss in future posts. First of all, pension plans are a thing of the past. Plus many workers are leaving their current job and doing something totally different in ‘retirement’. They are not living a life of leisure; they are pursuing a passion, hobby or a new career. For this reason, when you ‘retire', is an individual decision.
So, you may ask, how did I determine when to retire? Good question, lets start with my story…
I have been thinking about 'retiring' for 2 - 3 years. I’m not ready to hang up my loafers yet (I’ll be 57 years old in a few months), but I am looking forward to slowing down a little and exploring other opportunities. More specifically, doing something different than my full-time job. Whether it will be volunteering, playing music, or a part-time job, I’m not sure, we’ll see where my journey takes me. Who knows, maybe this blogging thing will be my future career - stranger things have happened. Now back to you and things you might want to consider on your journey.
Here are three factors that influenced my decision on when to retire:
I'm ready to do something different
I’ve been in the corporate world for over 35 years. I’ve enjoyed my career and worked for some great companies. I have also achieved some success along the way. I am ready to ‘sink-my-teeth’ into something new. Getting up a 5 am every day, spending long hours at the office in meetings, endless email, managing people and large projects was great, but I have been there, done that. It is time for a change for my wife and me. She is in a similar place, which makes our future very exciting because we will be doing this together. I have a long list of things to explore.
Are you in a similar situation?
I want to spend more time with my family
Most people say this when discussing their pending retirement - it’s a default response when asked what they will do. For my wife and me, this is very important given our location and our aging parents. Twelve years ago, we moved from Atlanta (my hometown) to Laguna Beach, CA. We have enjoyed living and working in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., but its 2,000 miles away from our families.
Both of our parents are in their 80’s now and won’t be around forever. Luckily, they are in good health for 80-year-olds. Spending time with them is a priority for us - it’s something you can’t get back, and as they get older, they need our help for day-to-day activities. Last, I have two daughters and five grandchildren in Atlanta. Being able to see them grow-up is very important to me.
Is spending more time with your family a goal?
I am financially able to retire
You may ask, why I listed this last? Isn’t this the most critical factor in retirement? Of course, its hard to retire if you can’t pay your bills but many successful professionals can retire now but struggle with life after their career. In many ways, it defines who they are and gives them purpose. I was like that as well until a few years ago. That’s when I realized, the time is right for a new adventure and spending more time with my family was more important than my career.
If you are financially able to retire, what's in your way?
Understanding when you are ready to retire and what you will do, is a critical step in living a successful retirement. I recommend you develop your game plan several years before you plan to leave. This will create excitement and mentally prepare you for what’s next. Don’t roll-the-dice and try to figure this out after you retire - this will make your transition more difficult. Some up-front strategizing is the key to your success. A little soul searching now can make for a much smoother adjustment later.
So, how do you think about your next chapter in life? Are you ready? Do you have a plan? Are you excited about doing something new or nothing at all? What factors will lead you to retirement?
I would love to hear from you, help you, and answer your questions.
Good luck and let’s #RetireHappy!