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How Do You Know It’s Time To Retire?

An older man is jumping with happiness outside in his yard.

Many of us wait until reaching a certain age to seriously consider retirement, but that’s not always the most accurate litmus test. You might be ready to retire earlier or younger than 65 depending on your financial status.

How do you know when the right time for retirement is?

Here are some indicators you should consider retiring:

  • You’ve made retirement plans
  • You’ve paid off your debts
  • You’re disconnected from your job
  • You’re eligible for Social Security
  • You have savings
  • You’ve decided how you’ll manage healthcare
  • You’re counting the days

Do you meet some of the criteria but are still on the fence about retirement? This article will help you decide.

We’ll examine the above signs and emotional indicators you should retire and discuss how to manage your finances ahead of this life-changing decision. 

What Are Signs That You Are Ready To Retire?

Before deciding whether retirement is the right choice for you, consider how well you meet the following criteria.

You’ve Made Retirement Plans

If someone asked you right now what you’d do in retirement, you could rattle off two dozen things. These aren’t all short-term activities, like giving your house a deep cleaning.

You’ve deeply thought about it and could plan months down the line. Maybe you’ve even made plans to retire somewhere else.

Having retirement plans can stave off boredom, preventing you from wondering whether you’ve made a mistake.

You will also spend more responsibly, as having activities planned prevents you from blowing your money on vacations or other lavish experiences. 

You’ve Paid Off Your Debts

Retirement income doesn’t stretch nearly as far as earnings from a full-time job. The fewer debts you have, the further your dollars will go.

If you have no lingering credit card debts, loans, or mortgages, you’re in an excellent position to retire. 

You’re Disconnected From Your Job

You remember feeling prideful about your job, but that feels like an entirely different lifetime. These days, you clock in, do what’s necessary, clock out, go home, and repeat the next day until the weekend. 

You might have done your job for too long, or perhaps any job would make you feel this disconnected.

Either way, once you begin going through the motions, you should consider retirement or at least begin preparing for that stage of your life. 

You’re Eligible For Social Security

Once you’re 62 years old, you can begin receiving Social Security payments. Many older adults decide to wait, as the payouts are higher the longer you put it off, but others claim their benefits right away.

Having Social Security income is a financial cushion in your retirement life. 

You Have Savings

The more savings you can funnel into retirement, the better.

If you’ve met with a retirement financial advisor and determined you have enough to meet your retirement goals and lifestyle, there’s very little stopping you from retiring. 

You’ve Decided How You’ll Manage Healthcare

Another major consideration when retiring is healthcare. If your employer provides your health insurance, that will no longer be the case once you retire.

You’ll have to enroll for Medicaid or Medicare, which means managing your own health insurance and the payments that come with it.

It’s impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy what your healthcare needs will be in the future.

You’re getting older, and while you might be in good health now, that can change. You might need in-home health care or even assisted living.

You can only plan for what you know, which means getting as far as determining how you’ll pay for your own health insurance and what you can afford.

Saving as much as possible will help you manage other potential health issues later. 

You’re Counting The Days 

Do you find yourself constantly counting down like a kid at Christmas?

Perhaps you’re waiting until you turn 65, or for your Social Security benefits to kick in.

This kind of passive lifestyle is robbing you of the opportunity to enjoy your life to the fullest now, so perhaps it’s time for a substantial change. 

How Do I Decide When To Retire Emotionally?

Besides counting down each day until that fateful one you can retire, the following signs indicate you’re emotionally checked out and ready to consider retirement. 

You’ve Spoken To Your Spouse, And They’re Ready

You and your spouse or partner have had long conversations about retirement, and both agree it’s coming up sooner than later.

That can light a fire under both of you to get moving to what’s coming next in your lives. 

You’re Burnt Out

It’s no secret that full-time work is stressful. Burnout can occur at any age, but in your advanced years, it takes less stress to put you into a position of feeling overworked, exhausted, and in need of a break. 

If you’ve used up all your sick and vacation time for the year, you can find yourself slogging through each day, waiting eagerly until the weekend, and feeling like a zombie every day between. 

The burnout won’t get better as you get older, especially if you have a high-pressure or fast-paced job. Retiring now will allow you to reprioritize your health. 

You No Longer Like Your Work

You used to enjoy your job because it was an opportunity to help people, or perhaps you could showcase your talents, or even both. However, those benefits don’t hold the same allure for you as they once did.

It’s not you need to change jobs or even shift careers.

At this point in your life, you don’t have the energy for either. Instead, you feel like it’s best to put your working days behind you and move on to the next horizon: retirement. 

You Dread Going To Work

Most of us experience the Sunday scaries, or that unpleasant feeling of knowing tomorrow is Monday.

What used to be a minor inconvenience for you has now evolved into full-on terror at the thought of going to work.

You don’t only experience this dread on Sunday evenings but every evening until Friday, when you can relax again. Even then, your relief is short-lived.

Retirement can alleviate your worries, as even the thought of retiring temporarily puts your mind at ease. 

You Feel Like Work Gets In The Way Of What You Want To Do

Each day, when you sit in your office, you consider how you could spend the time retired. Perhaps you’d tend to the garden today since it’s such a nice day out or drive upstate to see your grandkids. 

If your daydreams about how you’d spend your life retired appeal to you more than your reality, it’s time to begin assessing your finances to determine how realistic retirement is for you. 

You No Longer Feel Appreciated

Ageism is unfortunately a real phenomenon in the workplace.

Whether you’re perceiving the slight or it’s real, a sense of underappreciation for the hard work you put into your job can make retiring less of a debate. 

You Feel Stuck Or Trapped

You need your job to pay the bills. Even still, you feel like full-time employment is a trap, keeping you stuck working yourself into the ground.

It’s time to explore retirement, as it could be just what you need at this stage of your life. 

Am I Financially Ready To Retire?

No matter how exhausted work makes you, you must be in a financial position to retire, or you’ll find yourself back at some job before you know it. 

Different guidelines recommend varying amounts for retirement, which can make it confusing to determine if you have enough. 

For example, some guidance suggests having 70 percent of annual preretirement income saved before retiring.

Other guidance recommends saving eight times your salary by the time you turn 60 and 10 times by 67. 

The four-percent rule is another popular piece of guidance. Under this rule, you should live off at least four percent of investments for every year you’re retired. 

With so many retirement financial guidelines, you might use a retirement calculator or meet with a retirement financial advisor to get answers for your specific financial situation. 

What To Consider Before Retiring Early

You’re heavily leaning toward retiring “early,” calling it quits before turning 65.

You feel somewhat confident in your choice but want to be fully assured you have the financial means to live comfortably. 

Here are some pointers and advice to consider for early retirement.

You Will Have More Time Than You Think

The amount of free time retirement brings is more than any of us anticipate. How can we, when the most time we get off work is a week or two for summer vacation or the holidays? 

Retirement is far longer than a few weeks or months. It’s years, the whole rest of your life!

You must plan for your long-term retirement, not only the short-term. This goes back to our point from before, but it’s worth reiterating.

You’ll clean the house, but then what? Maybe you’ll reorganize, which will take a few days, but after that? What then?

You must think longer-term. Maybe you’ll start or join a book club, take up knitting, learn a new language, or practice piano. You need several hobbies and interests to fill your days. 

Passive Income Helps

A passive income stream such as investments or affiliate blogging can majorly assist new retirees struggling to make ends meet.

Even a few extra hundred dollars a month can allow you to keep up your retirement lifestyle comfortably. 

Read our article about the states that don’t tax retirement income.

Sock Away Savings For The Unexpected

You shouldn’t spend every penny you have in your retirement income from Social Security, investments, and passive income.

You must continue saving for the unexpected life moments we all face.

For example, what if your partner breaks their leg? What if your fridge suddenly stops working? Life doesn’t slow down because you have, so you must have a nest egg for these unpleasant surprises. 

Don’t Expect To See Your Peers Right Away

Retiring early is great for you, your partner, and your families, but not so much for your peers and friends who are still working.

They can’t get together with you at 2 p.m. on a Thursday for bridge or meet at 11 a.m. for brunch on a Tuesday because they’re still working.

This can make retirement life lonely but remind yourself it won’t be forever. Eventually, your peers and friends will retire, and you can spend more time together. 

Plan Your Healthcare Before Retiring 

Managing your healthcare yourself is difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before.

If the deadline for enrollment is coming up and you know you’ll retire within the next year, set up a healthcare plan before you exit your job. 

This will reduce your stress as you begin navigating a new retirement lifestyle. 

Bottom Line 

Determining when it’s time to retire isn’t always as easy as waiting until your 65th birthday. Many factors can cause you to retire early or even wait past 65 before your finances are in order. 

We hope this information helps you navigate the beginning of your retirement journey.  

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