There’s an excellent read over on the Considerable blog titled, “How long will you be able to work?” Regardless of your current age, one of the questions that individuals should ask themselves is, “When would I like to stop working?” Picking a possible retirement date – and I do mean possible – allows individuals to have a starting point in their retirement planning. And that planning date is important for several reasons:
- Think about a Plan B just in case you need to retire before the date you’ve chosen. Let’s say you’ve decided to stop working at age 70. But something happens when you’re 65 and you might need to retire sooner. I hear stories of individuals retiring early to care for their health or the health of a family member. What does a Plan B look like? And can you kick it into gear should you need it?
- Consider having two dates: a part-time date and a full-time one. Instead of going from fully employed to fully retired, does it make sense to think about a phased strategy? You could transition to part-time at 65 and then fully retire at 70. Of course, I’m just throwing out ages here. You have to decide what makes sense for you. This could also make a lot of sense when trying to coordinate your retirement and your spouse or partner.
- Use a retirement date to map out the transition to an encore career. I know several people in their 40s who work insane hours and travel a lot. They love their lifestyle right now but at some point, want to find a different pace of work. Selecting a retirement date (or dates as in #2) could help with planning an encore or second career. Especially if that next career involves getting some additional education or a certification.
- Reflect on how your retirement date impacts savings and spending. It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway, our decision to slow down or stop working impacts our finances. When retirement planning, we do have to think about how the bills will get paid and we can maintain our lifestyle. In fact, we might want to consider making some lifestyle decisions well in advance, so we can get used to them.
- Get yourself mentally ready for a change. I’ve always been a person who needs a full-plate of activity. I am getting myself ready for retirement to be a major change. It’s one of the reasons we started this blog. As you think about an approaching retirement date, ask yourself if you’re ready. Do you need to think about starting a hobby? I’m not joking. I do believe many people retire without a plan and get bored.
It’s very easy to simply pick the government’s age for collecting Social Security as your retirement date. But if I had a dollar for every person who turned 62 or 65 and said, “I’m not ready yet.” I would be retired right now. LOL! No one is holding you to that date. It’s simply a placeholder for planning.
And retirement planning is important.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby somewhere in North Carolina