The question of whether and when to retire is one of the biggest decisions in life. Being prepared for retirement will make this major transition easier. Some issues to consider include:
- How are your finances? It’s never too early to start saving for retirement; income sources may include company pensions, Social Security, and your own savings and investments (IRAs, CDs, mutual funds, etc.). People are living longer than ever, so retirement savings may need to last for many years. Do you have adequate health insurance? Have you considered long term care insurance? It’s usually wise to talk with an accountant or financial advisor if you’re unsure of what you need.
- How will your family react? Will they expect you to do more for them, or will they be concerned about you getting in their way? Having a frank discussion about their expectations can help prevent hurt feelings later.
- How will your social life change? If you currently socialize mostly with coworkers, you may need to expand your social network to include people who are retired. If you have a spouse or partner who is not yet retired, you can’t depend solely on that person to fill up your social life, either.
How will you fill your time? Your job has probably occupied a major portion of your time, and learning to structure your own time can be a big adjustment. Having scheduled activities will help prevent boredom and keep your mind active. If your career gave you an important sense of purpose, it may be important to find new pursuits that are meaningful to you.
Retirement presents the perfect opportunity to do all those things you haven’t had time for, such as: getting into shape; sprucing up the house; doing religious, charity, or other volunteer work; spending more time with family and friends; taking up a new hobby (or renewing a former one); or starting your own business. The possibilities are endless!