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What time is the right time for retirement?


Age may just be a number, but when it comes to retirement, it matters.

Retirement is a time meant for enjoying life without the pressure of work. For some, that means rediscovering life with their partner. For others, it means room to dig deeper into a neglected hobby (or find a new one), or traveling to places in your own backyard or abroad. Maybe it’s a little bit of all these things.

A recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that only 11% of workers plan to retire before the age of 60. But with the right preparation, you can create a retirement plan that will provide you with financial resources and the freedom to pursue your passions, whether you flip the switch at 65, 60 or sooner.

Anything before the age of 60 is considered an “early” retirement.

Prepare financially

Meeting with your financial advisor can help you evaluate your situation and create a plan for managing your assets and liabilities. Your advisor can also help you understand your income sources in retirement – such as Social Security, pensions or investments – and help ensure you’re on track to meet your retirement goals.

Getting clear on the kind of retirement you want, helps create the groundwork for getting a financial plan that’s aligned with your end goal. Do you envision traveling, pursuing hobbies or spending time with family? What kind of lifestyle do you want to maintain? If you plan to travel extensively or pursue expensive hobbies for example, you may need to save more than someone who plans to live a more modest lifestyle.

Gear up emotionally

Not only does assessing your retirement readiness involve evaluating your financial situation, but also it requires an honest assessment of your emotional readiness to leave the workforce.

Retirement can be an emotional time, particularly for those who have spent their entire lives focused on their career or building a business. It’s important to think about how you’ll adjust to find fulfillment and fill your time in retirement. Will you miss the social interaction and sense of purpose that comes with work? What activities will you pursue?

Find a sense of purpose

One of the keys to redefining retirement is to approach it with a sense of purpose. Retirement provides the freedom to explore new interests, take risks and make a difference in the world. Especially if you’re retiring early, there’s more opportunity and more time to try new things. By focusing on what matters most to you, you can create a retirement that’s fulfilling and meaningful – which is important for overall happiness and well-being.

Prioritize your well-being

Being proactive with your health through regular exercise, wise eating habits and getting enough sleep can help prevent the need for costly medical interventions down the road and help ensure you get the most out of your retirement. Retiring early if your situation allows may also give you more time to work with your healthcare providers to create a plan to improve or maintain your health.

While physical health is important, finding a creative outlet can help you support your mental health as well. Consider activities that you don’t have as much time or energy for while working full-time. What do you wish you could do during your day?

The COVID-19 pandemic and gradual labor market recovery has been accompanied by an increase in retirement among adults ages 55 and older. 

Plan for healthcare costs

Once you reach the age of 65, Medicare becomes available to you. But if you retire sooner, healthcare insurance to tide you over to 65 can be quite expensive. Healthcare options for early retirees include COBRA, government health insurance marketplace plans, private policies and keeping some form of employment that offers health insurance. There are also services which can assist with finding a health insurance plan that is right for you.  Each option comes with its own costs and benefits, so it’s essential to weigh your options carefully. For example, if you opt for a private policy, you may have more from which to choose, but the costs can be high.

It’s also important to consider the potential healthcare costs or insurance options associated with caring for an ill spouse or adult children.

Enjoy a golden opportunity

By taking the time to rediscover yourself, assess your situation and plan accordingly, you can retire on your own terms whether you’re at retirement age or not – and feel confident doing so.

When we retire from work, we don’t retire from life – we’re simply moving on to another phase. One with opportunities to redefine your purpose, find causes that light you up and embark on adventures that remind you age is indeed just a number.

Sources: aarp.org; cnbc.com; raymondjames.com

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