retirement - be positive
reasons to retire early

6 reasons to retire early – plus reasons not to

So you want to retire? Think carefully!

Early retirement  –  a dream for many.  Not more 9 to 5, throw the alarm clock away, forget the commute.  Retirement is a joyful time when you do exactly what you want to do, or not.  It’s up to you.

Right?

Well, not quite.  Retirement could be your golden years of fun, hobbies, relaxation and socialising.  But if you’re not careful it will be none of those things and you’ll wish you were back at work.

Here are 6 reasons to retire early –

  1. You are conscious that you only have one life
  2. You dislike your job, colleagues, or boss
  3. You always wanted to start a business or new career
  4. You want to spend more time on hobbies and interests
  5. You want to learn a new skill, instrument, or language
  6. You wish you had more time with friends and family

And some words of caution follow …

1. Fed up, miserable, disillusioned

Does the prospect of another day at work fill you with dread?  Long hours, pointless tedium, your life’s clock ticking by.  If you have those feelings it might be time to retire early.

Because life is short.  If you can find a way to make the finances work retirement could be the answer to a better life.  Of course, the tail end of your working life is a bit late to be restructing your financial situation – if you’ve got a mortgage, credit card debts, no savings you will have to face the cold reality that you might have managed things better in your earning years.

But if you can see a way, avoiding another day at a miserable coalface is surely an option.  Because that day won’t come again.

Reasons To Retire Early

2. Life is for living - and it's not a dress rehearsal

The notion of 3 score years and ten is a bit outdated now – the average lifespan for a make in the UK is was 79.0 years for males and 82.9 years for females.  And here’s the shattering news – they don’t (as far as we know) send you round to the start again for another go.

So if you are in a dead end job, cast your eyes up and out.  If you are in the last third of your life, how could you make the most of it?  What are your dreams, aspirations, goals?  A quiet, peaceful and non-stressful time of reading, painting, gardening – and no more endless meetings, targets, deadlines?

Or do you have an actual dream – start a business, travel the world (Covid might have a say in that) or volunteer for a charity that needs your expertise?  Whatever your dream, it shouldn’t be left on the pillow.

3. Can you afford it?

Plan, plan, plan.  That’s the route to early retirement.  Because it’s a cold, hard world out there and the gas bill arrives whether you are working or not.

So the first step toward thinking about retiring early is to make the numbers work.  Consider you income, expenditure, committments and lifestyle aspirations.

If you can, create a spreadsheet and model your financial position without that regular pay check.  Could you survive?

A familiar headline from financial institutions is “could you survive on a million dollars in retirement?”  If the answer to that is no, a lot of people are in trouble.

But the question is wrong.  Because you are presumably hoping to do more than survive – you want to live, spend, not have to worry about money.  Because retirement without money is not a place to be.

So in an ideal world you will have stacked up your pension pot, paid off the mortgage, avoided loans and credit card debts and your spread sheet is looking healrhy. 

If that is the case, you’ll have to think about whether a few extra years of work to add to the pot is worth the retirement lifestyle forgone.  A good financial adviser will help you to plan, and see the reality of your situation.

If the numbers do not stack up – you’ve got more in the expense column than on the other side – maybe a change of employment is the answer. Because if you give up your job and don’t have enough money to live on the reality is :

You’ve got to increase your income – part time job, side hustle, make more money somehow

or

You’ve got to reduce your expenditure – cut down your living expenses, move somewhere cheaper, forgo the holiday or new ca.

4. You hate your job

If your waking thought each morning is “oh no, another day at at work” something is clearly wrong.  But is early retirement the answer?

Perhaps a change of thinking is called for.  Look for the good in your job, approach it with a different attitude, try to understand the co-worker that irritates you with every passing moment in their presence.  Or at least find a way to tolerate your life, while planning for a better one.

Unhappy Man

 

 

Because once you’ve handed in your notice the step is almost certainly irrevocable.  So if you are going to take the plunge and retire early, consider the pros and cons – a rash fling of a resignation letter at your boss may give you fleeting satisfaction, but make sure you have a thought out strategy for your first day of a post working life.

5. Does your work status define who you are?

At work, you have a role.  A reason for your existance, a status, a meaning to get out of bed.  The job might be a high flying executive or a more humble position, but it is who you are.  You will have a label that deifnes you.

So if you replace that by retiring – who are you?  When someone asks you “what do you do?” are you happy to say “oh, I’m retired”.

Planning early retierment is not just about the aforementioned numbers.  You have to fill those hours in a day, and you need to think about how you will fill them.  Research local opportunities for sport, leisure, volunteering – in other words, retire to something. Have a positive approach, not just a dash to a post work lifestyle that could be empty and pointless.

6. All my buddies are playing golf

The grass is always greener, particularly on a golf course.  If you see your friends enjoying a relaxing retirement of leisure and fun, it’s natural to be envious.  But don’t be fooled – envy should not cloud what should be a decision arrived at by careful analysis of your finances and later life goals.

And keep in mind that working can give us a reason to live.  It provides a purpose, meaning, and self-fulfillment. Plus, some studies suggest that people who retire early and don’t work at all may die sooner than people who keep working.

Reasons to retire early - not

You should be retired for a long time  15 to 20 years and more is not uncommon.  Harvard economist  Laurence Kotlikoff believes that ‘early retirement is one of the worst money mistakes”  and makes the point that it is possible to be retired longer than she worked.  And there is the uncertainty factor involved in calculating whether retirement is affordable – you don’t know when the grim reaper will call.  With bills going up, living on a fixed pension income could be no fun at all in later life.

Conclusion

Early retirement sounds attractive when the alarm sounds on a cold wintry morning.  But be careful – analyse your finances, talk to your partner, think what sort of lifestyle you aspire to. 

But if you conclude that early retirement is for you – go for it, and don’t look back.