Retirement is a sweet dream for many working people, but the reality of a happy retirement rests on being ready, from both emotional and financial standpoints. The following questions are meant to help you assess your readiness for retirement.
Don’t worry, no one is trying to keep you from living your dream of sleeping late, travelling the world, or playing endless rounds of golf, but it can’t hurt to get a realistic picture of what you need to do in order to make all of your retirement dreams come true.
Remember, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, so take a few moments to consider the following questions. When you are done, you should have a pretty good idea about whether or not this is the right time to put your working years behind you.
Is your current home paid off, or are you still holding a mortgage on it?
If you still have a mortgage and plan to stay in your home, will you be able to manage the mortgage and maintenance expenses without the benefit of your current position?
If you plan to sell your home in order to help finance your retirement, are you aware of its value in today’s market?
Do you have a clear idea of your financial needs, post retirement?
Have you worked up a post-retirement budget, leaving room for a few unexpected expenses that are sure to crop up?
Have you inquired as to any benefits for which you may be eligible?
Are you willing and able to work on a part-time basis, if needed, in order to maintain your financial health after leaving full-time employment?
Have you considered how you will spend your newfound free time? Many retirees find themselves at a loss within a few months of retirement, wondering how to occupy themselves now that they are no longer working everyday.
Are you able to define yourself in terms that aren’t career related? After years of working, it is not uncommon to think of oneself as merely their job title, but such a mindset can make it difficult to comfortably move on to the next stage in life. Some retirees find that by volunteering their time to a favoured cause, they can meet their need for making a difference without the sometimes harsh restraints of managing a career.
Do you have a strong support system of friends and/or family members? Socialisation is important for happiness and mental well-being, so it’s vital that retirees make an effort to maintain bonds with those closest to them. For those who have few close relationships outside of the workplace, joining clubs or participating in hobbies with like-minded folks can help fill the void left by missing ex-coworkers.
Have you taken some time to think about your life, after retirement? Failing to have a plan of action can result in dissatisfaction with the very state that you worked so hard to achieve.
If you have a spouse or are in a committed relationship, have you considered how the change in your working status may impact your partner and your relationship? It is common for people to fall into comfortable routines and when one or both partners experience a significant life change, it can cause a bit of temporary discord.
Readying Yourself for Retirement
Once you have a realistic picture of where you currently stand, you are in a position to make smart choices that will help to ensure a happy and secure retirement. If, once you’ve considered the points above, you realise that you are indeed ready to join the ranks of the permanently and happily unemployed, congratulations! You’ve earned the right to relax and enjoy your retirement.
If, however, reading through the thoughts above make you uneasy about your retirement readiness, take heart. Being aware of the areas that you feel may be problematic offers you the opportunity to take steps to be better prepared.
With a bit of planning and possibly a short while longer on the job, you, too can leave your working days behind you and spend your time pursuing the activities that bring you joy!