First, the 8 Reasons to Retire Early:
1) Enough is enough – You’ve had it! You have offered all you feel you have in you. Or, you have offered all you have been allowed to offer. (There is a difference.)
There is also a time as you age that you reach a burn-out in your respective career choice. I personally reached this point and retired at the end of July 2016.
2) You are financially secure for the next 30 years (expected life span of a 55-year old retiree). You reach the point where you are financially secure and can retire and live comparably (as you currently live), for the next 30 years. This financial security would include IRAs, pensions, 401(k) plans, Social Security (SS), annuities, etc. Generally, you planned very early in your career in anticipation for an early retirement.
3) Reduction of stress – For many, retirement relieves high stress levels, which ultimately improves an individual’s overall health. For so many aging adults, they are generally in the higher level management positions, which often comes with the higher level decision-making stressors.
4) Retire early to become healthier – While working, once again in those higher management level positions, the job often requires long hours and many individuals do not properly exercise or eat healthy. Instead, individuals tend to forget or fail to find the time to eat and exercise. When they do eat, it’s generally unhealthy fast food or junk food on the run in an effort to save time. Thereby, they do not exercise properly and tend not to eat healthy.
Another reason for some individuals to take early retirement and become healthier is because of the person’s health at the current time. For example, I decided on early retirement, in part, due to my current health situation. I suffer from chronic pain and multiple sclerosis (MS). Chronic pain, complicated by MS, can cause a myriad of issues for the sufferer that affects their ability to continue working. First, my pain cannot be “fixed”. Also, MS may cause my pain to progress.
5) One of my favorites, time to travel. Early retirement allows aging adults with the benefit of travel. If you ask many people what they would like to do when they retire, most will tell you that they would like to travel.
Did you know that in recent studies it’s shown that many workers do not even use all of their allotted vacation time provided by their employers? That’s wild to me! I believe workers need to separate themselves from their work more often than they do. But, that’s a totally different story altogether!
But, it’s amazing that once an individual retires and is freed from the daily grind, if they are financially secure, retired adults often take advantage of the time to travel. They may not go far, but they do travel. More and more, travel is being done in recreational vehicles (RVs) throughout the United States (US). Also, retirees do a lot of seasonal travel between the northern and southern U.S.
My husband and I recently took a short trip to the Tennessee Great Smokey Mountains. It’s late August, so most schools are already in session. Therefore, it’s the prime-time for the older generation to take advantage of traveling to this great vacation spot. While I’m sure older adults go year-round, I did notice that there were an abundance of older adults walking around enjoying the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge attractions. I would say that most of them were retired and enjoying their time to travel.
6) Attend classes – Many colleges and universities offer free or discounted tuition to older adults and/or seniors. With the extra time during retirement, individuals can take advantage of attending college or other types of classes, such as crafts, art, music, tennis, golf, etc.
7) Being around people you like – While you are working outside the home, you may have developed friendships with coworkers or, you may have daily said, “I can’t stand these people.” However, once retired, you have the opportunity to lunch, shop, or travel with long-time or childhood friends. Or, you may have the opportunity to contact and re-associate with those you may have lost contact with due to moving or your hectic work schedule.
8) Another of my favorite reasons – When you retire you can sleep late. Also, not only can you sleep late, but you can also enjoy not having to go to bed so early. When I worked, I worked a flexible schedule, which meant that I went into work at 7:00 a.m. and worked until 3:00 p.m. (I worked 7.50 hours each day.) In order to get into work at 7:00 a.m., this meant that I had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. In order to wake up that early and still get enough sleep, I had to go to bed no later than 10:00 p.m. Now, since I’m retired, I can stay up late (as a matter of fact, it’s after 12:00 a.m. right now) and I don’t have to wake up until I want to.
Now, for the 7 Reasons Not to Retire Early:
1) Sense of Accomplishment – Many adults work in order to maintain a sense of accomplishment and self-worth through gainful employment rather than taking an early retirement. We had a receptionist, Sandy, in our office that worked until she was about 72-years old. Sandy said she not only worked because she wanted to earn money to take yearly cruises, but she did so to keep herself young. Sandy felt that working in an office with younger individuals kept her mentally young. Sandy was a delight to work with. The next three reasons also would apply to Sandy.
2) Loss of commraderi – While working you are most likely a member of a team or group and develop connections and relationships that may last a lifetime. Retirement may lead to more isolation and thus, cause a feeling or loss of commraderi.
3) Health – (recent studies indicate older workers actually remain healthier if working) Older workers who retire can often become too sedentary and lose interest in activity. However, if older workers remain a part of the workforce, studies show they remain more active and thus, healthier.
4) Financial Security – Early retirement may be impossible if the individual fails to sufficiently plan for early retirement. Unfortunately, the individual finds it impossible to financially maintain their current lifestyle without a steady income.
5) SS income is penalized if an individual retires earlier than 66 1/2 years of age. (Higher benefits are paid out if the individual waits until they are 66 1/2 years of age at retirement.) Although individuals may begin drawing SS as early as age 62 years of age, their benefit is penalized for each year earlier than 66 1/2 years of age. Please refer to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf for a more in-depth explanation of SS benefit penalization’s.
6) Extra job Incentives (possible incentives to stay to train younger workers) – Workers may be offered incentives and/or transfers to other locations to train other workers, due to years of experience and company knowledge. These type of offers/incentives may be too lucrative to pass up. Therefore, early retirement is not as attractive as the extra incentive.
7) Health Insurance (comprehensive plan at your company with low deductibles). With the rising healthcare costs, this is a viable reason not to retire prior to the age of 65 years of age (age seniors are eligible for Medicare). Many seniors may find it necessary to stay employed in order to maintain insurance for themselves and/or possibly for their family. COBRA Insurance is often too cost prohibited to consider. Also, individual insurance policies for family members may be too cost prohibited and per-existing conditions would possibly have to be considered.
Ultimately, each person’s retirement age decision is made considering both the pros and the cons above. Also, it is a personal and financial decision each of us must make at one time or another. I sincerely hope that the above has provided you with some food for thought for your personal decision.
For you young people reading this, take my advice, seriously, begin planning for your retirement right this very minute. I don’t care whether you plan to retire at SS’s current full-retirement age of 66 1/2 years old (as of this writing), or earlier, start planning now, you’ll thank me later. Wish someone had told me this when I was younger. I’d have retired years ago. Retirement is that good!