When Can I Retire? When Should I Retire?

While most of us would dearly love to retire as soon as possible – tomorrow if we could – the reality of life is such that a lot of factors conspire to push the magical date of retirement further and further away.

A common irony exists however, that as we do get closer to our retirement, we start to get more and more apprehensive about taking that step. And this is only natural, since it is one of the biggest steps in life we take, and feelings of uncertainty can easily take over.

But the good news is, there are ways to plan and things to look out for that can help determine the best time to retire.

Transition to Retirement

Retirement need not be an abrupt stop on one day. Increasingly people are easing back first, working part time for some months or even years before retiring fully.

Some countries even have a formal pension system that allows for transitioning to retirement. For example the Australian system pays a part pension to people over 60 working part time, see the explanation by Industry Super.

Retirement Readiness

Finally, it’s important to feel that it’s the right time to retire. Leaving stable employment can affect a lot more than simply your income. So much of our social and community life is influenced by our workplace. Will this be affected when you no longer spend time at work? Make sure your prepared for this.

Of course, then there’s all the extra time you’ll have. Most of us look forward to the prospect of having the time to spend doing what we want, but without the structure of the daily schedule we’ve become used to, it can feel a bit disorienting – especially if your position or role plays an important part in your life and status in the community.

So before you retire, make sure you have access to support systems, activities and groups to keep you occupied and happy.

After all, this should be the time of your life, so planning when and how to retire should fill you with excitement, not trepidation.