Image by Wisconsin Historical Images via Flickr
While things are still a bit tough for some people right now, it doesn’t mean that retirement is entirely out of the question. Some are finding that retirement now can be a great thing — as long as they are ready for it.
When to retire is a personal situation that has to be addressed on an individual basis. You need to carefully consider your goals and your finances, and figure out if you are ready for retirement. Here are some indications that you might be ready to retire, whether that point comes right now, or in a few years:
You’re Ready to Leave Your Job
Your reasons for leaving your job may be varied, from feeling as though you have had enough, or just being a little burned out. Or you may have planned for months to quit. In some cases, you might want to do something part time, or pursue a hobby. You might be interested in volunteer opportunities, or some other activity. When you are ready to leave your job, that is one indication that you might be ready to retire.
You Have a Plan
Being ready to leave your job isn’t much good if you don’t have a plan for retirement. Do you know roughly how much money you need each month to live? Do you have adequate income streams to help you meet those needs? You need to have a retirement budget plan in place, whether you are working part time or hoping to live off the nest egg you have developed in a retirement account. Consider cultivating alternative income, so that you have income that you can rely on. Also, have a backup plan for situations, like the recent market crash, that can strain your finances. Being prepared for retirement is a big indicator that you really are ready to retire.
You also need a plan for how you plan to spend your time. Many people retire, only to find that doing nothing all day gets really boring, really fast. Know what you want out of retirement. Consider options that fall within your retirement income for activities you can do, whether its traveling to visit family and friends, or volunteering locally.
You Have Low Debt
It is best if you have absolutely no debt when you retire. This includes your mortgage. However, if you have an affordable mortgage, you might still be ready to retire. Unfortunately, if you have consumer debt you probably really aren’t ready to retire. Once you retire, you are working on a reduced income, and any sort of consumer obligations can cause problems. It’s best to reduce your expenses as much as possible, and this means making sure your consumer debts, such as credit cards, auto loans and student loans, are all paid off.
You’re Prepared for Health Issues
Another indication that you are ready to retire is that you are prepared for situations involving poor health. You should have health insurance of some kind, making sure that you have enough to pay for shortfalls in Medicare. Also plan ahead for the possibility of long term care needs. A financial planner can help you figure out if a long term care policy is right for you.
Bottom line: Advance planning is vital for a successful retirement. Even if you think you’d like to retire, you really aren’t ready to take that step unless you have an idea of what you want to do, and a financial plan to help you accomplish.