Are you ready to retire? Before you answer that question, you need to discover whether that’s what you really want to do.

To do that you need to evaluate your current situation. Do you enjoy what you’re doing now? If so, are you ready to give it up? If not, is your main reason for retiring a negative one? In either case, you should retire when you are ready — not on impulse.

If you think you are ready to retire, you still need to answer a few other questions. For example, what are you going to do with your time after you retire? Based on average life spans, you could spend as much time in retirement as you spent working. That’s a lot of hours to fill.

If you don’t have anything specific in mind, it’s time to start thinking hard about what you’ll do in retirement. That’s especially important if you are married. Just remember the old saying, “I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch!”

When you know why you want to retire and what you hope to do with your new-found freedom, it’s time to figure out if you can actually afford to retire. Will you have enough income to enjoy your retirement? If not, are there any income-producing opportunities out there that will help you make up the difference?

Financially speaking, the bottom line is this: make sure when you retire that your current and future income will be sufficient to cover your needs — and as many of your desires as possible.

To sum this up, there’s a three step approach to making a retirement decision: 1) decide if you are ready to retire; 2) figure out what you will do with your time when you retire; and 3) find out if you will have enough money to enjoy your retirement.