What’s your ideal retirement age? Is it 62? 66? 70? Never? Everyone can come up with a different answer, because few decisions are more uniquely individual in life than deciding when it’s finally time to turn in your notice and give up the paycheck for good. We just read this article on the subject on the Motley Fool website, and we think reporter Catherine Brock did a pretty good job of answering this question in greater depth. “Eager to turn in your final resignation letter and get away from work stress for good?” she writes. “Not so fast. Look beyond your level of job satisfaction to set the timing of your retirement.”
The Ideal Retirement Age is Not Just About Money
Many people seem to think that the “right” age for retirement is purely a function of finances: once you’re certain of sufficient income, go ahead and retire. Fortunately, Brock doesn’t fall into that too-familiar mindset. Money is important, of course, but it’s only one piece of the retirement puzzle.
Besides money, some treat personal happiness, as measured by job satisfaction, as the true barometer of when to retire – but again, says Motley Fool, that yardstick can lead you to quitting too soon, or retiring too late. “Whether you can’t wait to eliminate work stress from your life or you never want to leave your post at the office, it’s important to look past your job satisfaction when determining a time for your retirement,” says the article. “Doing so minimizes the chances you’ll end up back on the job market in your 70s or wishing you’d left more time for yourself to work on your bucket list.”
When choosing a time that’s right for you, says Brock, there are four factors to consider to help determine your ideal retirement age.
Ideal Retirement Age: How’s Your Health Outlook?
One of the biggest factors in determining your best age to retire is probably how healthy you are – or aren’t. “Poor health today is an argument for early retirement, but there are financial considerations,” writes Brock. “You need enough savings on hand to cover your living expenses and healthcare costs, and the healthcare piece could be significant.” The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has estimated that the average retiree will spend $4,300 annually on medical expenses, and that does not include long-term care. Retirees with a history of medical problems can easily shell out much more.
“If you can make it work financially,” says the Motley Fool article, “leaving the workforce early gives you a taste of retirement while you’re healthy enough to enjoy it. The alternative is to continue working until your health requires you to quit.” Once that happens, what might have been a joyful retirement can become a burden. At that point, you may also be too sick to check any items off your bucket list.
Still, if you’re healthy and enjoy your work, it’s probably best to keep at it. Retirement planning often assumes your savings should last 30 years. The longer you work, the more you save, and the better able you’ll be to maximize your Social Security benefit.
Ideal Retirement Age: What Type of Work Do You Do?
“If you have a physically demanding job, like construction or nursing, you realistically should plan for a younger-than-average retirement age,” says the article. If that’s not possible, consider shifting to “a less taxing, but related, job” such as retail, for example. Don’t assume your body is going to hold out indefinitely.
“You can usually keep working longer when you have a desk job, particularly one that can be done remotely,” Motley Fool observes. “But give some thought to how age is perceived in your industry and organization, and how that might affect your ongoing employment.” Ageism is pervasive, and as an aging worker you’ll need to be wary. “Look around your company and decide on the likelihood that you might get pushed out before you’re ready to go.”
Ideal Retirement Age: What Are Your Plans After You Quit?
We’re often amazed at how little thought many people give to how they plan to spend their time once retired. After the first flush of vacation-like freedom comes a hard-core letdown. “Boredom is a very real problem for retirees,” says Motley Fool. One survey found boredom to be the second-most common reason retirees return to the workforce. “If you have no projects to tackle, causes to support, classes to take, or places to explore, the novelty of unlimited free time might wear off pretty quickly,” the article warns. “And it’ll happen even faster if work is your primary source of social interaction and sense of fulfillment.”
If your post-retirement plans are vague or non-existent, now is the time to start thinking ahead. Meanwhile, if you can, you should probably keep working.
Ideal Retirement Age: Can You Afford to Retire?
This one seems self-evident. “The balance in your retirement account influences your ideal retirement age as much as your health does,” says the article. “Ample savings obviously gives you the flexibility to retire whenever. Anemic savings might have you feeling like you have to work forever.” Reporter Brock recommends a three-pronged strategy: increase your retirement contributions immediately, streamline your living expenses, and delay retirement.
Those are sound ideas. But we also know retirees who have made dramatic lifestyle changes and retired modestly but quite happily. This is where a financial dashboard is absolutely essential to help you make sound money decisions. We’ll be happy to refer you to a qualified financial planner who can help introduce you to this powerful tool.
Motley Fool: “Take a Broad View to Determine Your Ideal Retirement Age”
“Data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College pegs the average retirement age at 65 for men and 63 for women,” says Motley Fool. “But it’s likely that you’re not average.”
Your health, your career outlook, your vision of life after work, and your finances all play a role in answering the question, “When should I retire?” But we would also add that your family plays a major part in this decision. So does your housing situation. That’s why, before you retire, you need to discover the power of an AgingOptions LifePlan – a discovery we invite you to make.
Join Rajiv Nagaich Soon for a Hosted LifePlanning Webinar
At AgingOptions our chief desire is to help you prepare for the kind of retirement you’ve always dreamed of having. Toward that end, we want to share the powerful principles of LifePlanning even during this period when most of us are required to avoid gathering in groups.
Rest assured, we’re monitoring local regulations and will resume in-person seminars as soon as they can be safely held. But for now, Rajiv Nagaich has scheduled several of his popular, free LifePlanning Seminars in the form of webinars that you can watch conveniently at home. Simply visit our Events Page and register for the webinar of your choice.
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(originally reported at www.fool.com)