6 Signs You Are Not Ready to Retire

Turning age 65 does not necessarily mean you are ready to retire. Hitting a certain age neither guarantees nor necessitates retirement. Your retirement should begin when you determine you are ready and able to do so, regardless of how long you have lived. Here’s how to tell if you are not quite ready to retire:

You cannot financially swing it. If you have done an analysis of your expected inflow and outflow of retirement funds and are running in the red, retiring now is not a good idea. In a 2014 Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, only 18 percent of workers say they are very confident they have enough money saved for a comfortable retirement. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix. If you work full time it is hard to find much time or energy at the end of the day to dedicate to improving your financial situation. Taking on a weekend gig means your family and mental down time must be sacrificed. Some people build their own business in hopes it will generate additional income. But many people will find themselves forced to remain on the job longer than they had hoped as they struggle to save enough for a comfortable retirement. If you are employed and have medical coverage along with a steady income to help pay the bills, do you want to assume those responsibilities before you have to?

You don’t have enough interests and activities. Although many people plan for retirement from a financial perspective, too few look at the rest of the picture. You will also need to entertain yourself, find a new purpose and avoid becoming bored. If you wait until you are retired to begin figuring out what to do with your time, you are making it unnecessarily difficult on yourself. A better course is to try different things and test the waters ahead of time. Revisit the activities that you were once interested in and might choose to continue in retirement. Imagine there is nothing on your calendar for theMontreal Meal coming week. How would you occupy yourself? Now multiply that by about 20 years to understand what you have in store. That’s how much time you need to fill.

You enjoy your job. A reader of my blog recently commented, “I could probably retire now, but continuing to work seems the easiest path to follow. I am in the curious position of enjoying what I do and getting paid for it.” If you are fortunate enough to actually like what you do for a living, leaving just because you reach a certain age may not be such a good idea. As long as you remain on the job, you are able to maintain the relationships with co-workers that some people find hard to replace in retirement. Spending time with friends at work can make up for some of the less-than-desirable aspects of the job. And if you really enjoy what you are doing, what are you retiring from? If you like working, you should feel no rush to call it quits before you are ready to do so.

You haven’t yet planned for the future. Many of us are focused on just getting to retirement and have not thought much about what comes next. It can be a mistake to roll into retirement expecting everything will take care of itself. A fulfilling retirement does not just happen. If you want to get the most out of your days you need a little initiative, creativity and willingness to try new things. Retirement is an exit from the working world, but also the beginning of a new phase of life.

Most of your friends and family are still workingRetirement can be difficult if the people you most want to spend your time with are busy with their jobs. You have the time to do whatever you want, but they are still punching the clock. Don’t be surprised to find that your sudden freedom might cause a bit of envy in others not so lucky. While you are free to have fun, they are stuck in their corporate role. With most of your social network busy at work, what do you plan to do? Living a leisurely second act while your friends and family are overwhelmed with work can prove difficult.

You are not ready to be alone. Many employed people are perpetually busy. Once you retire you are responsible for filling your days with activities. If you don’t make the effort to set up social engagements, you could end up spending a lot of your time alone. For some people it is a blessing to have enough time alone to pursue individual interests. But other people do not do so well without the companionship of others. It helps to know prior to retiring if you enjoy spending extended periods of time alone. I have a lot of interests that fill my day while my wife is working or otherwise occupied. But if you are happiest when relating to others, a solo retirement can be difficult.

From my blog on US News & World

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

5 thoughts on “6 Signs You Are Not Ready to Retire

  1. Hi Dave…this is a great post that really helps us all understand what our motivations are and whether retirement is the answer at any given time. My husband and I belong to the category of “liking” what we do plus having lots of freedom to work when we want. We don’t see retirement as a big deal like many of our friends who are slaving at jobs they dislike. Knowing the difference and also knowing what you are going to do (and whether you can afford it) is critical. Thanks for all these great ideas. ~Kathy

    • Thanks Kathy – a bit of planning and research before the fact can make the transition and subsequent years that much more enjoyable. It still amazes me how many plan to just roll into retirement without putting much thought into what they will do for the next 20 years. Enjoy!

  2. Great points listed here. I have been struggling to decide what to do, but planning the heck out at a pre-retirement stage, but cannot pull the trigger due to the fact that the job is good, and pays well. I have the rest planned out well, but this one ‘golden shackle’ is not easy to break. Others might have shackles of other kinds listed above, and may not be ready to break off.

    The point about your friends and family not being in a similar boat is a GREAT one, and I have been thinking about “What will I think about others working while I am done, and what will others be thinking about me retiring while I am still young”.

    Thanks for posting.


  3. Good points as well Kenny – sometimes it is hard to come to grips with the fact that when you are ready to retire it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. It is your decision, your life and your time. Since it is your retirement, you get to decide what you want to do – not a bad state of affairs! 🙂

  4. Hi Dave ~ Your post really made me think hard about why it is working for us. You see, neither my husband nor I was planning to “retire.” It was sort of thrust upon us. We were fortunate to have some savings to make it work while we figured out the plan. And while we both truly loved our jobs, we’ve figured out ways to fill that same love in this second act. I absolutely loved everything about teaching children – just hated the politics and the paperwork. Now I occasionally work part-time for a local school district, testing kids. I get my “kid fix” without the daily work grind!

    Your point about family and friends still working is soooo true! We have found that we must be especially deliberate in maintaining connections with friends and coworkers. When you lose that daily interaction, you must be intentional about maintaining those relationships!

    And you are absolutely correct that a fulfilling retirement doesn’t just happen! It’s my biggest fear – That I will just let the days pass me by without examining my goals and desires. So far, I love the flexibility of schedule that allows me to pursue whatever curiosity I happen upon on any given day! Blissful!

    Thanks for a great post! Lynn

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