retirement plan, retirement age, retire early

Have you thought about it? Have you said, “When I retire I’m going to …”? Or have you decided you will never retire because you can’t imagine not working?

A typical job lasts for about five years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average marriage lasts about eight years according to the Census Bureau. But figures from the Social Security Administration show that the average American is retired for over 20 years.

Beyond the financial component of retirement, if you have worked all of your life you may have only thought about not having to go to work – no alarm clocks, no commuting, no boss, et cetera. Some of us have many things we’d like to pursue in retirement – volunteering, traveling, more time to spend with children and grandchildren, and the like. But many of us have no idea what we are going to do. Many of us identify ourselves through work. When we meet someone new, usually one of the first questions we ask is, “What do you do?” How will you answer that?

Retirement is a major life transition, and if you are unprepared it may not be what you had hoped for. Here are a few things to consider as you approach what should be an enriching second chapter of life.

  • Have you discussed retirement with your spouse or partner?
  • What are you doing to prepare for retirement in nonfinancial ways?
  • What is your attitude toward retirement?
  • What can you learn from others about retirement “success”?
  • If you plan to work in retirement, what will you do? Be realistic about what you can do and for how long.
  • What leisure and social opportunities would you like to explore?
  • Make a list of everything you’ve ever thought about doing in retirement – this will help if you think you’ll be bored!
  • How is your health? Are there any things that need to be taken into consideration?
  • Are there any family/relationships that will be impacted?
  • Consider a trial run – take a several-week vacation (or leave of absence) and pretend you are retired.

Once you’ve worked through all of the above and before you take the leap, make sure you consult with your Financial Advisor to review your cash flow and assets to ensure you are financially ready to retire. Then all you need to do is update your contact info (and make sure you have contact info for others) and plan your retirement party!