When planning for retirement people want to know whether they can retire which is about money. But once you have enough money, the question then becomes should you retire?
Should You Retire Considerations
Consider these factors.
- Do you like your work?
- Do you enjoy the people you work with?
- Does your employer provide incentives such as paid health insurance or a larger pension the longer you stay?
- Do you want to build more savings for unexpected events or to fund a very long retirement?
- Is your spouse/partner still working and how do they feel?
- What are you going to do with all your new-found time?
- How much do you value your time?
Why I Decided to Retire
I liked what I did and enjoyed the people. My employer offered to pay for health insurance until age 65 but it would take many years to qualify. Our retirement plan included contingencies. My spouse was ready to retire. The only glitch was I didn’t have a plan for how I was going to spend my time. However, the most important consideration was how I value my time which is my most precious resource. Once it’s gone I can’t get it back. And it’s not just quantity of time, its quality time, i.e. being in good health. So my decision of when to retire boiled down to whether I wanted to give more high quality years to my employer or keep them for myself. My answer was affected by seeing several friends’ plans get upended by unexpected health crises. That tipped the scale in favor of retirement sooner rather than later.
Looking back at my decision it’s true that I could have accumulated more wealth. But it turned out that I have enough. The biggest issue was the red flag warning of not knowing what I was going to do. I ended up going through a period of disenchantment and having to figure out how to reboot my retirement (see The 6 Stages of Retirement). Even with that challenge, I have no regrets about my decision. I survived adjusting to retirement and am now thriving. I’ll always treasure those years I kept for myself instead of giving them to my employer. They were priceless.
Should You Retire?
As you can see, the decision of when to retire has many moving parts. The right decision for you might be to keep on working in order to get paid health insurance. Or y0u might be willing to pay for COBRA or Obamacare because you value your time more. The important thing is not to rush it. Take your time, talk with people and think it through. Just keep in mind that time, not money, is at the core of your decision.