There are several key pieces to weigh as you consider when to retire. Your response to each one will help determine whether you’re ready to ‘join the club’ and what steps you may have to take to get ready.
- Financial freedom from employment—if you don’t need the money
- A Satisfying identity outside of work—if who you are is not dependent on the work you do
- Support structures in personal life are in place—if you don’t need the stability and structure work provides
- Enjoyment from non-work activities—if your hobbies, activities, and relationships outside of work are pleasurable and satisfying
- Pursuit of accomplishments and goals outside of work—if you have ambitions that are not connected to your work
- And more important, life purpose beyond what work can provide—a bit redundant, but so important. Do you find
identify, enjoyment and ultimately purpose outside of your tasks for work? Life’s purpose is not integrated with work but many of us have worked for so long, and worked so hard we struggle to identify the important things we can do with our life that are not related to our careers.
Retirement preparation includes all these. It is important to consider if these 6 points are true of you before you retire and actually work toward them as you are considering to “unwind” your career. Beyond finances, what you are unwinding is the emotional connectedness to your work and meaning you find in it.
Retirement is much more than simply “not working” and preparation for retirement is so much more than “financially not needing to work.” If these 6 points are true of you, then yes, you are ready to retire.