Each day, thousands of Americans are faced with the decision of whether to retire or not. They have worked hard, saved some money, and are now eligible for certain benefits. They may jump right into retirement, but a wiser route would be to look for some of the signs that might signal that now is NOT the time to retire.
Social Security Eligibility
When you hit age 62 you are eligible for Social Security and most potential retirees are eager to start drawing on their money so they retire as soon as possible. However, consider waiting a few years to retire and your Social Security payments will rise dramatically allowing you to more fully fund and enjoy your retirement years.
Health Care Costs
As part of the retirement timing process be sure to calculate the total health care costs for you and your family. Most retirees are surprised by their health care costs and few have the finances to fully fund their premiums as well as be prepared for any emergencies. Determining your needs before retiring can reduce unwanted stress and anxiety.
Underfunded Retirement Accounts
For years financial planners have encouraged the use of the stock market to help build retirement accounts. This is fine if you have time and can handle volatility. However, if your retirement accounts are not where you need them to be and you are thinking about retiring and playing the stock market to fund your expenses, be forewarned. Stocks are inherently risky and should not be a major part of your portfolio once you retire.
As you ponder your time off you may be filling your days with visions of reading, napping, cleaning out the garage. These are all fine ideas, but consider how you will spend your time over the long haul. It may be that the social connections and mental challenges of your work life are important aspects to your happiness. Leaving work too early can open the door to depression and feelings of isolation. In a similar vein, if you were considering taking a part-time job to fill up your time, consider both the increased difficulty in finding such positions as well as the drastic reduction in pay and sense of accomplishment you may experience.
Spousal and Family Considerations
Listen to your spouse. If your spouse is uncertain about your retirement timing, be sure to understand the concern. Other family financial needs, such as your parent’s care, outstanding debt, and home repair costs, should be considered before jumping into retirement.
The above issues are meant to serve as guides to better assessing and understanding your retirement situation. You may be well-situated and ready for this transition or you may realize you need to continue to work and plan for a comfortable and stress-free retirement.
Source: NBC News