Knowing When to Retire – SoCS

retire

How does a person know when to retire? Do they pick an age that sounds good? Do they wait until they’re too tiredย or too ill to work anymore? Do they hold off until they have enough money in their retirement fund?

Recently, I was having this conversation with someone and had to admit that the idea of retiring seems very unnatural to me. A person works practically their entire life and then one day just stops working. It my mind, that’s like hitting a wall while traveling at full speed.

It’s quite unnerving.

The idea of trading a job in for relaxing, hobbies, traveling, reading books and working in the garden sounds wonderful, but what a drastic change that would be.

From childhood, we are taught to work (well, most of us are), to financially support ourselves and to do our little part in helping the world go round. To stop doing that goes against everything that we’ve been taught.

Sure, I’d love to spend my final 20-30 years of life traveling and enjoying the world around me. But, if at age 70 I still have plenty of energy, it would be very difficult for me to make the decision to retire. Then, if I did, would I feel comfortable with that decision?

With all this said, I firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to retire and should, whenever the time is right for them.

If you’ve already retired or plan to in the future, what are your deciding factors? Age? Finances? Personal desires? All of the above?

Also, if you’ve retired, was it easier or more difficult than you thought it would be?


This post is for SoCS, hosted by LindaGHill.

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50 Responses to Knowing When to Retire – SoCS

  1. Thought provoking post. I’m a pensioner now, not by choice, but forced by health. It was not easy to learn to slow so much down after having worked for many years, both for others and as independent. I learned by time to appreciate to create my own schedule after my energy level that day.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It’s difficult when health issues get in our way of doing what we want to do, but sometimes I think it’s just our body’s way of telling us to slow down and to enjoy life. We can work so hard at times, that life passes up without us even taking notice. I do hope however, that you are doing okay now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. JoAnna says:

    This is so right on time for me! My husband has graciously offered for me to quit my job for 30 plus years and replace my salary with some withdrawals from his retirement account. I’m excited but a little scared. I have to trust. I’m so ready to be freed from the burdens of a stressful job. I believe my health will be better. But I don’t think I will ever really “retire.” I’m planning to drop down to working one day a week at my counseling job and spend the rest of my time on writing and art (I might even make some money at those things) and I might try substitute teaching. So for me this will be a transition…a process of moving into a time when I will have the freedom to experiment.(Thanks for asking about this and for letting me go on about this. I’m not ready to share it on my own blog yet.)

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    • mewhoami says:

      You’re welcome and I’m happy that you were able to share it here. I think it’s wonderful that your husband is able to provide so that you can stay home and enjoy what you want to do, instead of what a job tells you to do. I think that’s the greatest part about retirement, or even partial retirement – being able to do with your time the things that you truly enjoy and may have always wanted to do, but never had the time to. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you.

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    • Wow, JoAnna – That’s almost exactly what happened to me, when my husband said, “Honey, you don’t have to have a job that makes you cry! And as a result, we ended up on the Encore Voyage – It takes a little bit of guts, and is a lot exciting…and is the best thing we’ve ever done!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. aviets says:

    Ouch. This subject hits a raw nerve for me. Due to very long-term, chronic illness my husband was unable to work for 12 years. Many of those years I didn’t work either because we had small children at home. Add to that the fact that we’ve both worked for the public sector, non-profits, and small businesses all our lives and it adds up to we can never retire. I don’t know that I’d be happy being 100% unemployed ever, but I don’t like the specter of being forced to work until I drop, either.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I agree with you. Retirement may be a hard decision, but nothing compared to not even having that as an option. I’m sorry to hear that you all have gone through so much. Hopefully a way will be provided later for you to retire comfortably. One never knows what the future will hold. At least, until then and beyond, you will have the strong loving family bond that undoubtedly has been formed between you all.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. April says:

    I retired at the age of 30 to raise my kids. I feel very fortunate that our family has had the money to afford this type of ‘luxury’. I am now a retired mom…well not completely retired. Once a mom always a mom. Anyway, I find more than enough to keep myself busy, and I do enjoy being able to just be when I can force my mind to do that. Not having to worry about a job took some practice because I feel like I lost part of my identity. Maybe that is why people wonder why people retire? Do we lose how we perceive ourselves?

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    • mewhoami says:

      I think the feeling of lost identity is a big part as to why people fear retirement or even being a stay at home parent. However, one thing that I’ve always tried to remember is that no matter what kind of job a person has and from no matter where they work from, it’s a job nonetheless. Being a stay at home parent is the most important job a person can have. Working from home is a job as well. And retirement, well…that’s a luxury that we should all have. I’m happy that you were able to retire at 30 and spend your time raising your children – a job that you continue to do even to this day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t mind working. But I do enjoy the thought of retirement. I don’t plan on slowing down. I do plan on being busy and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. joey says:

    I kinda agree, at least on my end. I haven’t worked a ‘regular’ job in years, but I certainly work at home and volunteer and stuff. I actually think I’ll return to work relatively soon, and work more when the kids are grown. It’s hard to say what life will be like later, but neither of us talk about retirement, although we do save. I think we’re both people who like to stay busy and active…but it’s hard to say what jobs we’ll want later. Who knows how we’ll feel or what we’ll want next week, let alone decades from now?
    I just don’t think we’re in the group that works excessively in some fast-paced career, banking tons of money for later, thinking “When I’m 55 or 65 I’ll just become a person of leisure and finally enjoy myself.” Fine for those who do, but definitely not something we want.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I like your perspective on this. I think that too many people do choose the excessive working route and while doing so they sacrifice many of the more meaningful treasures of life. Work is great for income, but shouldn’t rule our lives. I appreciate the fact that your family has seemingly chosen the family first approach to life.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rajagopal says:

    Retirement is just another stage in life wherefrom one gradually advances to his or her sunset years. It does not mean that you stop working; it only means a transition from a fast moving, narrow confines of a career to the relaxed pace of broader concerns encompassing multifarious activities, mostly low on remuneration but always high on altruism. There is an opening up of perspectives and widening of horizons. When does one reach it? It can be at the age of sixty years, following an active career spanning close to forty years; it can also be earlier, if one has built up an adequate financial corpus; if not, it can be later. I am an year into my retirement and I find it very fulfilling in that it is finally enabling me freedom from routine, to be able to pursue my
    interests in gardening, reading, writing, traveling, and also a little bit of teaching and social work. Life goes on….

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      You are absolutely right about it being another stage in life, one in which many of us prepare for well in advance. A stage that we all deserve after working so hard to get there. The important part, is retiring when you as an individual are ready and ideally when you are financially able to do so. I’m happy that you are able to enjoy the more peaceful side of life now, enjoying what you love.

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  8. I gradually found myself semi-retired and it was not a conscious choice. I think people find as they get into their later middle age that they are pushed out of jobs and then have a very hard time finding the same type of jobs again. It is a big transition for me. Work takes up a huge chunk of our lives. You are lucky if you are allowed to make the choice of when you retire.

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  9. Recent research illustrates that ‘retirement’ is becoming a rather arbitrary, less traditionally defined, and more fluid concept. People are viewing (and living) life’s third chapter with a myriad of lifestyles and expectations. What still holds true, however, is that many haven’t even begun planning for ‘what’s next.’ Then, when they arrive, they’re at a loss for what to do with their time, resources and dreams. Now is the time to actively plan so that your ‘retirement’ years are optimized for meaning and significance. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great blog topic!

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are right. Everyone’s idea of retirement is unique to their own desires and much different than what retirement used to be. For some, retirement means a part-time career, for others it means travel, and for some it simply means relaxation. Unfortunately, you are also right that many people fail to plan beforehand and then find themselves in quite a bind when the time comes. It’s very important to plan for that third chapter of life. It’s certainly not a stage of life that should cause us undo stress. Instead, it is a time that we should enjoy to its fullest. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Boy, Eric is that the truth! When I first left teaching, many of my fellow teachers said, “You didn’t retire, you just quit!” Hence, no retirement party for me! Until a couple years later when several of them found out that they could “retire early” by taking a slightly smaller pension. Now my friends are becoming retirees by the boatload. That said, the hubs and I have decided we will never completely “retire” – whatever that is. We are just on an encore…in our careers, in the things we learn, in the things we do each day, in our wanderings. And we’re loving every minute of this “second act!”

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I work with a couple of people who I WISH would retire … their retirement day will not come soon enough for me. I wonder if some people know that when they retire they are doing some of us a favor by sparing us of their presence? I think these two should retire as early as possible and go enjoy their life because they sure ain’t fun to work with! … just sayin’. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  11. DailyMusings says:

    If someone is in good health and enjoying what they do I see no reason why they should retire. I “retired” for 8 years during which I did all volunteer work- everyday I was somewhere, helping people and I loved it. It was less pressure than working, but very satisfying. Life changed and I went back to work 3 years ago which I am enjoying.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s an excellent point. Retirement should enable you to spend your time doing what you enjoy, so if you already enjoy what you do, then why stop? I completely understand this. There are things that I enjoy doing that regardless of my age, as long as I am still capable, I would continue to do. It’s wonderful that you enjoyed your 8 years of retirement and that you are happy with where you are at now. That is what’s most important.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I retired early because of an eye problem. Got a little scare, but as it turned out, I could have worked several more years. Looking back over the 15 or so years since I retired, I wouldn’t give up one single moment of glorious time to myself that I have gained! Lower pension, less money to buy stuff, but who cares? Retiring early has been great!

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    • mewhoami says:

      How right you are! Money is great, but will never compare to the other, more important factors of life. Quality time with family, enjoying what we love and peace. As the saying goes, “money can’t buy happiness.”

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  13. dalecooper57 says:

    With my financial situation the way it is, I just can’t see me retiring at all, I’m more likely to just expire quietly at work one day.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It’s so sad the way you put that. Unfortunately, I think that that’s a situation that a lot of people find themselves in. Retirement is great, but find themselves wondering how they’ll possibly afford it. Sometimes even with the best of intentions and planning, life still doesn’t work out as we plan. But, I do hope that you are able to find a way to enjoy at least a few years of retirement…or at the very least enjoy your work if you can’t.

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      • dalecooper57 says:

        Oh, I’m sure I’ll manage to find something to occupy my final years of toil. I’ll only get bored if I retire anyway.

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        • mewhoami says:

          That may be true. That’s kind of my thinking. I read a story the other day about a man (a millionaire) who retired at the age of 30’ish and within 5 years he was ready to work again, not because of lack of income, but simply out of boredom. All his traveling was fun, but he got bored after a while. I don’t know though if I’d ever get tired of traveling. There is so much to see.

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  14. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    I am personally ready to retire this very minute. That minute that just passed by actually… -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

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  15. I’m ready to retire today. I have no interest in wishing time away, and I love what I do. However, I don’t wish to do it infinitely. We had kids later than most. By the time all 3 are out of school and on their own, hopefully, we’ll be in our early 60’s. when they’re done, I’m done…with working. Lose my identity?!? Nope. By retiring, I hope to find it again! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • mewhoami says:

      Today does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It sounds like you have a good perspective on life; enjoying what you have while you have it. That’s important. Also, I like the thought of rediscovering your identity through retirement. I completely understand that. It’s our time to do with what we want and perhaps have always dreamed of doing, with no schedule or deadlines to hold us down.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. LindaGHill says:

    I haven’t had a real job since I was 36 years old. And yes, I miss working. Which is why I’m trying to turn my hobby (is writing a hobby when it’s something you’re compelled to do?) into a career I can do at home.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I think it’s great and probably very needful for you to be able to stay at home with your children. Writing is a great career choice. Nothing better than doing something you love. Turn a hobby into income – sounds perfect to me.

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  17. We don’t even really call it “retirement.” For us, it has been an Encore – It is just a reinvention of the things we do, the things we learn, and the way we spend our time. We both gave up full time jobs working for others, and began what we lovingly call “An Encore Voyage,” and wow have we learned a great deal in a short time!

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