Reg Jones Expert's View

The end of the year is just around the corner. It’s a time when employees who are already eligible to retire think seriously about doing that. So do those who could retire if offered an early retirement opportunity.

The big question is, should you retire now? Before making up your mind, you need to find out if that’s what you really want to do. You can start by answering the following three questions.

Is retiring the right career decision for you?
To answer that question, you need to honestly evaluate your current situation. Do you enjoy what you’re doing now? If you do, are you ready to stop doing it? If not, is your main reason for considering retirement a negative one? If that’s the case, you need to be careful. You should retire when you are ready – not on impulse because you are angry or frustrated about something (or someone) in your work.

Can I afford to retire?
Will you have enough income through a combination of your retirement annuity, Thrift Savings Plan account, and other investments to enjoy the life? If not, is there any way you can generate enough income to help make up the difference? Depending on your skills and abilities, there may be quite a few – or there may be none. Here’s the bottom line. Make sure that your current and future income will be sufficient to cover both your needs and as many of your desires as possible.

What am I going to do with my time after I retire?
With life expectancies on the rise, you could end up spending as much time in retirement as you spent working. Quite a few employees have already started a part-time business or are engaged in satisfying non-business activities, such as hobbies and volunteer work.

If you are one of those who is well on your way to realizing a post-retirement goal, that’s great. If you don’t have anything specific in mind, it’s time to start thinking hard about what you would do in retirement. That’s especially important if you are married. Just remember – togetherness is one thing, being in the way or under foot is another.

I hope this three-step approach will help you make a decision about whether to retire now. To recap:
• decide if you are ready professionally to retire,
• find out if you will have enough money to enjoy your retirement, and
• figure out what you will do with your time when you retire.

May your decision be a good one!

See also, Feeling Mullish About Retirement?
The “retirement wave” never came, hence a new focus on carrots and sticks