So, you’ve reached the later years of life. Or, at least, that’s what they tell you. Your hair is greying and your hairline is possibly receding. You’re starting to notice aches and pains you’d never even thought about before and you find yourself bringing up your back problems at Sunday lunch with the family.
And you don’t necessarily feel old. In fact, you probably feel most in control of your life than you’ve ever felt before. You know who you are and what you want. You no longer feel anxiety over silly things like you did when you were younger. Despite the physical indications of age, you’re not nearly ready to identify with the term “elderly”.
Middle age is in the rear-view mirror and you’re all the better for it. You don’t know why you ever dreaded getting older. You finally know what you’re talking about and have the knowledge and experience to back it up. It’s a wonderful time of life.
But there is also one big question that’s probably lingering at the back of your mind: is it time to retire? Retirement is known as the “golden years” and you’re becoming more and more intrigued by it. You likely have friends who’ve already taken the plunge into post-employment. And you have to admit, their lives look pretty good from the outside. But, are you ready to commit to giving up work permanently?
Well, here are some points to consider and questions you should ask yourself to help you make this big decision of your retirement.
More free time – This means you have the time to enjoy all the things you never had time to do before. You can spend Monday mornings playing bridge, relaxing on the golf course or reading a good book. If you have grandkids, you’ll have loads more time to play with them and give them advice. You won’t have to live according to your work schedule anymore.
Less stress – No matter what you do for a living, every job comes with a varying amount of stress. You have to worry about getting everything right all the time and consider the results of every action you take. Plus, at the level you’re most likely at, you can feel the next generation wanting to take your place. When you’re retired, you have very little to worry about. There’s no reason to lie awake at night thinking about clients and customer retention.
You can focus your energy on whatever interests you – Let’s not pretend you’ve got an unending surplus of energy. You’re still awake from morning until night and you get through the day without an issue. But you may find you have to choose what to focus on. It’s not like the old days when you could seemingly think of 100 things all at once. Now you only have the energy to think of one or two things at a time. Being retired means you can finally focus all your energy on the one thing you want to. Whether that’s your family or a special hobby, it’s all up to you.
You may become bored – Right now you have the perfect balance of responsibilities, family and interests to take up all your time. Every waking moment has something assigned to it. And let’s be honest, work takes up most of your time. Which is why you’re able to to enjoy your other interests. If you don’t have enough outside of work to keep you busy, you may find yourself bored without work to keep you occupied.
It makes a big difference financially – For many people, the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to is based on their current income. No matter what you’ve saved or put away for retirement, you’re unlikely to be able to live the same way you’re living now on a pension. You’ll most likely have to cut back on expenses.
You could feel lost at first – Your priorities drastically change when you retire. The things you care about and the tasks you put first change. Work is a big part of your life and when you stop working, that part of your life disappears. If you’re someone who has always gained a lot of their self-worth from their job, then you could feel like a fish out of water for the first few months of retirement.
The two questions you need to ask yourself before you retire
Are you ready to give up your career?
There are many people who become very attached to their jobs over the course of their careers. A large part of who they are is rooted in what they do for a living. It’s not entirely healthy, but it’s not uncommon. If you are, or have been, one of those people, you need to make sure you’re ready to leave your career. Have you made it as far you’d like to? Is there more you’d like to contribute to the business or industry? Those are some of the things you should think about.
Do you have the finances to live comfortably in retirement?
It’s important that you take a close look at your finances before you retire. Some people start their retirement savings early on in life to ensure a comfortable lifestyle later in life. They added to the pension funds or retirement annuities their employers set up for them (if they received that benefit) and were careful with their spending. Are you one of those people?
However, before you get unnecessarily stressed about the financial implications of retirement, remember that there are ways to save on your current expenses. Once you leave the working world, you will find that there are discounts and special offers available to you. For one thing, you can easily find affordable medical aid for pensioners.
At the end of the day, everyone has to retire eventually. You simply can’t work forever. You just need to decide if retiring is something you want to do right now. So, take some time to carefully consider the positives and negatives of stopping work.