Retirement is inevitable, but knowing exactly when to do so is often unclear. No matter when you actually begin your retirement, you’ll benefit from planning your post-work life as early as possible.
According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who expect to retire at age 66 or older has risen dramatically, from 21% in 2002 to 41% in 2018. People expect to live and work longer than ever, so it’s never been more important to know when to stop working and how to carefully plan for the big event.
The Social Security full retirement age. For persons born in 1960 or later, the Social Security full retirement age is 67. You will receive 70% of your monthly benefit if you retire at age 62, and 86.7% at age 65. However, you’ll get the maximum monthly benefit if you wait till age 70. These milestones might be an important consideration if your Social Security benefit will be a sizable portion of your retirement income.
Separate financial considerations from emotional ones. If you’ve successfully executed your long-term investment plan, you might be financially prepared to retire well before you are emotionally ready. Facing lifestyle changes at retirement might cause anxiety about how your life will evolve and how you’ll spend your time. It’s important to objectively evaluate your financial condition to support your decision-making, even as you contend with your feelings about retirement.
Many folks need more money than they think. It’s virtually certain that life will offer you one or more surprises along the way. You might find you will need more money than anticipated to fund a comfortable retirement. Creating a post-retirement budget can give you a general idea if your retirement savings alone can sustain you. As you near retirement age, it’s important to regularly review your savings plan to manage risk and help put yourself in a position to save the maximum amount possible.
Retirement impacts small-business owners. It’s not time to retire until you’ve worked out what to do with your business. If you plan to keep it in the family, retirement means executing a succession plan involving relatives or partners who have the knowledge and interest to keep your business going after you retire. Alternatively, you might want to sell the business, which requires extensive planning and preparation. Once sold, your planning should spell out how you’ll deploy your sale proceeds to support your retirement in the most efficient manner.
The common theme is planning. Whether you want to retire at 55, 85, or any time in between, planning is the key to a happy life in your golden years.