How to Know if You’re Really Ready to Retire

Written by , October 21, 2015

How to Know if You’re Really Ready to RetireThe idea of retirement is a powerful one. For most people, retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of a long and productive career, and to spend more time with family and on long-neglected hobbies. But the decision to retire is not always an easy one to make. And the adjustment from full-time work and professional obligations to a life without those obligations can be harder than many people think.

In fact, making the decision to retire should involve consideration of a number of different factors, and asking yourself a handful of important questions.

Here’s how to know when you’re ready to retire.

  • You Won’t Miss Working. As a threshold matter, you’ll know that you’re ready to retire when you won’t miss working. Don’t take this question lightly, though. Even individuals who complain about their jobs find that once they’re no longer in the same routines, they miss those same jobs. Rather than going from full-time employee to not working at all, consider finding a way to transition into a part-time or consulting situation where you can see just how much difficulty you may have in leaving your job.
  • You Have a Good Reason to Retire. One of the biggest mistakes that many older Americans make is simply retiring because they’ve reached a certain age. Retiring before you’re ready can ultimately prove to be a very frustrating decision. After all, many individuals derive great personal satisfaction from their jobs, so leaving that situation simply because they reach age 65 can leave a significant void in their personal lives.
  • You’re Unable to Work. Of course, the opposite situation holds true as well. If you find yourself unable to continue performing at a satisfactory level at your job, then it may be time to retire. This may be from burnout, as well as no longer being able to physically perform the tasks required as part of the job. In fact, despite increasing life spans, the later years of life aren’t always of the highest quality. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common that retirees aren’t able to work as long as they wish.
  • You’ve Saved Enough. You can be confident that you’re ready to retire once you’ve reached your retirement savings goals. Determining what’s an appropriate amount to save depends on a number of different factors, including your current income, your financial goals, and your other financial obligations. This process is one that you should revisit periodically, particularly if there are significant changes to your professional or personal situation.
  • The process of retiring is not something that happens in a single day. Nor is it a single decision that can be made easily. Consider the factors above when trying to decide whether you’re ready to retire.

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