When do I retire?
This is one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask yourself. Your career is not what defines you but for many people, it makes up many aspects of their lives they have lived up until this point. For most boomers, by the time this question becomes relevant, they will have spent a large majority of their lives in the workforce. So it is an important question for many reasons, and one that you’ll can really only ask yourself. That is not to say the answer is obvious, on the contrary, it will take a lot of internal and external research to find the appropriate answer. The common answers to this question have become outdated. What people think of as retirement years ago hardly exists in today’s working world. So as you ponder this complex question, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.
Of course, this is a major consideration when it comes to retirement, especially for the boomer generation. Many studies and surveys have indicated that a great many boomer professionals are not financially prepared to retire. They have worked for so many years, but they did not set up the proper savings plans, or look too deeply into any kind of retirement plan at all. Therefore, for these boomers, working into the so-called “retirement years” is not a choice, it is a necessity. They are simply not able to retire with the money they have. In some cases, you see professionals actually leave the workforce, only to later return having discovered how ill-prepared they were. There are so many considerations you need to make when it comes to your financial needs in retirement. Consulting a financial expert about what you’ll need to live the retirement you want. Your home is another bog question. Will you stay in the house you have now, or will you downgrade to something smaller? These and many more financial questions will play a big role in your retirement decision.
For a lot of professionals, work provides them with a sense of purpose. When they are at work, they know what they are trying to accomplish, things make sense and they are confident in their skills to get the job done. The fulfillment of that purpose might go even further, depending on the type of work they are doing, and could feel as though they are offering the world something important through their work. Purpose is an important thing to have in life. It is that thing that keeps you on track, fills your day with something meaningful, and serves as constant motivation. Leaving work can be difficult for that reason. If you find purpose through your work, is it really something you are willing to lose? In retirement, will you be able to find another outlet that will help to fill your retirement years with purpose?
Lastly, there comes the idea of actually enjoying what you do and having a passion for the work. It might seem like an unlikely concept to some, but there are many people out there that get a genuine pleasure from what they do for a living. In many cases, it is that passion for the work that has kept boomers in their jobs well into their later years. They are financially secure, they have wonderful lives outside of their work, but their love of what they do is not something they are willing to give up. They will continue to work for as long as that passion remains. And why shouldn’t they? We have always promoted a work-life balance on this site. You have worked your whole adult life and you deserve to enjoy the other aspects of your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave behind a job that you enjoy. Despite what some may say, that is not a selfish decision. Your retirement should not be dictated based on the complaints of others.