Ask yourself these questions
Now that summer is approaching, the allure of golf, vacation or spending time with your family is very high. Maybe you have a big birthday coming up (yep, 65) and now you’re pondering whether now is the time to retire.
But before you take the plunge, you may want to ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly to help put things in perspective on whether or not this is the right decision for you.
Here are a few suggestions.
Can you financially afford to do so?
Probably the first question you’re going to ask yourself is if you can financially afford it. You may have analyzed your retirement funds to review your inflows and outflows. How do they look?
In a recent Gallup survey released this week, for Americans 30 to 64, more than two in three of them responded their top financial concern is whether or not they will be able to save enough funds to live reasonably well during retirement, reported AARP.
Those worrying the most (70%) were those 30 to 49-years-old while those doing so the least were people older than 65 (37%).
And for some, you have to think regardless of their age, the worrying never ends.
But should you consider going down this long-awaited road, you may also want to keep in mind that by leaving your job, you’ll be solely responsible for health insurance, income to pay your bills and other financial responsibilities. Are you ready to potentially scale back your standard of living?
Are you ready to leave your job?
Maybe you really like your job, enjoying it more than just its paycheck? You should think about if it’s really time to walk away from this good situation.
If you continue working for a while, you will have the opportunity to save additional money and enjoy the camaraderie with your colleagues. Are you willing to leave all that behind? For some, being with others is important to their work—and life–happiness. Keep in mind once you exit the work force, you’ll be leaving these interactions as well as intellectual challenges.
This leads to the next question you need to ask yourself…
What do you plan to do with your free time?
While many peopleworry a lot about the financial aspects of retiring, another question to ask yourself is what are you going to with your new free time? Do you have hobbies and interests to pursue? Depending on your situation (single, married, kids, no kids, grandkids), you will find a lot of idle hours during the week that need to be filled up.
For some new retirees, this is the biggest challenge. Some don’t realize how all-consuming your work life has been. Others soon understand they don’t like all the alone time.
But maybe you’re also ready to tune-up your golf or tennis game or it’s finally time to do all that volunteering and travel that you’ve dreamed of over the years. As a retiree, here’s the time to do it.
Have you planned for the future?
How well have you planned for this post-work future? Many of us are so focused on entering retirement (and money) that when that day comes, we’re like huh, what’s next?
To have a full and enjoyable retirement, it will take some planning whether it’s determining if your spouse will remain working or not and if you have really thought about what comes next. It can be a mistake to slide into retirement expecting it just to fall into place.
Similar to navigating your career and your children’s lives, it will take work on your end.
To maximize your days—and years—you’ll need to be creative, take initiative and embrace openness for new experiences and routines. Sure, retiring is closing the chapter on work but it’s a new, unread one.
Is everyone around you still working? Are you ready to spend some time alone?
Ok, most of your friends and family may still be working. For some retirees, your days could be spent alone as everyone is going about their usual lives. Without you. Your life may a clean slate but theirs is not.
For some, there may be some jealously toward your new chapter. Don’t be boastful and remember when they come home from a frustrating day, be supportive and listen. You were once there!
Keep in mind, with everyone so busy are you really ready to spend a lot of hours alone? This goes back to planning and hobbie. Be ready for this possibility as some people are not. They suddenly find themselves taking a part-time job for human interaction. Or pestering their significant others. Some become depressed.
One way to prepare for this is to start spending time alone if you’re concerned. If you find this uncomfortable after a while, then maybe you’re not ready for retirement or perhaps need to do better planning.
And if you do retire, remember they don’t call them the golden years for nothing.