Three signs you’re ready to retire
Many people don’t have a lot of choice when they retire. Illness, job loss, or babysitting responsibilities push them out of the workforce, ready or not.
But some people have the opposite problem: they have a choice, and yet they can’t quite stop working.
Some people love what they do and never want to retire. Others are crippled by fear of the unknown, say financial planners. They may worry about living without a salary, spending the money they have worked so hard to save, or figuring out how to organize their days when they are not working.
âA lot of people I see are financially ready before they are emotionally ready,â says Cathy Gearig, certified financial planner in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
If you’re having trouble, here are three signs that you may be ready to retire.
You faced your fears
Retirement is often described as a never-ending, stress-free vacation. In reality, retirement requires potentially stressful “paradigm shifts” or fundamental shifts in how people approach people’s lives, says CFP Barbara O’Neill, author of “Flipping a Switch: Your Guide To Happiness and Financial Security in Later Life â.
Read also : Planning for retirement is hard, but you can do it one step at a time
Instead of earning a salary, for example, retirees must create one their savings and other resources. If something goes wrong – the furnace goes out or their investments don’t perform well – they can’t just make more money to make up for any shortfall.
Those who were diligent savers often find it difficult to spend their money in retirement.
âIt’s very emotional for people,â says PSC Janice Cackowski of Willoughby, Ohio. “They are so used to seeing their account balances increase over the years and they really have a hard time withdrawing money from their accounts.”
According to some financial planners, other fears, such as fear of becoming unnecessary or simply being bored, can cause people to postpone their retirement. Gearig says some of his most successful clients, including business owners and senior executives, have prioritized work to the point that they can no longer imagine life without it.
âHonestly, the biggest fear I see is, ‘What am I going to do with myself if I’m not going to work all day?’ Gearig says.
More: Worried about social security? Panic can lead to bad decisions
Once you know what scares you about retirement, you can start addressing those fears, financial planners say.
Your financial plan has been stress tested
If your concerns are financial, you can hire a paid financial planner to review your pension plan. Choose a planner who is a trustee, which means they are committed to putting your best interests first.
Getting expert advice is a good idea in any case. The Planner can help you maximize Social Security benefits, navigate Medicare or other health insurance options, decide the best way to retire, plan for possible long-term care, and determine a sustainable withdrawal rate for your savings.
âThis will be your only retreat. Getting it right is paramount, âsays Adam Wojtkowski, CFP in Walpole, Massachusetts.
Using sophisticated planning software, the advisor can also stress test your plan to see how it performs in the event of a major market downturn, rising inflation, tax rates. higher or premature death of you or your spouse, says PSC Shelly-Ann. Eweka, senior director of financial planning strategy for the financial company TIAA.
See: Will you outlive your savings?
PSC Michelle Gessner of Houston manages her clients’ plans through various combinations of events. Then, she does a “max spend” test to see how much money they can spend before the plan fails and they run out of money.
“I’m really beating the devil out of these plans and then [clients] can see ‘Hey look, that still works,’ âsays Gessner. “‘And if this still works, maybe I don’t have to be afraid anymore.'”
You know what you’re getting out of (not just from)
Many retirees struggle, at least initially, to find a purpose and structure for their days. Having a plan for how you’re going to spend your time can help, says CFP Ian Weinberg of Woodbury, New York.
This plan may include a list of trips and experiences that you can start to check off. You can also create a pie chart or calendar showing how you would like to divide your time among various activities: hobbies, volunteering, fitness, time with family, travel, etc.
Retirement can also be an unexpected loneliness, especially if you’re single or your partner is still working. If your main social interactions were with coworkers, you may need to find new friends, says CFP Patti B. Black of Birmingham, Alabama. Black recommends consulting with volunteer groups, clubs and courses.
Read: 6 ways to give back in retirement
You may need some time to mentally and emotionally prepare for retirement. Don’t let the preparation go on indefinitely, because the future is never guaranteed, Gearig stresses.
âJust jump in and enjoy the ride,â Gearig says.
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Liz Weston writes for NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizweston.