Questions to ponder before choosing to retire

The thought of an early retirement to get away from all the stress is not something uncommon, especially post-COVID times! Some questions that would help us choose the answer that is right for us!

Medical costs

How are you planning to cover your medical costs? If you have been without medical insurance and have survived all these years – great! You would have setup a process for yourself. If you have been relying on medical insurance – evaluate your options. Medical insurance, bills, pharmacy and prescription costs are high. You might not want to spend most of your money on your medical expenses.

Debt situation

Most of us taking a home mortgage, loans for home improvement, auto purchases, children’s education (…. and the list goes on). How much debt do you still have and need to payoff? How would you be getting funds for the same? How much of your expenses do you plan to extract out of your investments (stock market or real estate). With the markets fluctuating – which ones would you be spending money on and where would you be able to get funds for your debt payoffs? Think about it – short term and long term!

Social life

For most of the working professionals, colleagues at work play a significant role (be they good experiences or bad) towards a social life. When you retire, who occupies that space. It feels great at the onset to enjoy a peaceful day with food and binge watching shows, relaxing in the park etc. However, the busier you were while working, the more empty you would end up feeling when you quit working. So, think about who you would want to have included in your circle / social life and build around it. Neighbors, places of worship, local grocery stores, local gym, parks, walking or hiking trails are good places to find the friends for the next phase of life.

Changing residence

Would you be able to afford living in the same home or do you plan to move to a smaller and more affordable one. For one, it would create some liquid cash at hand right away, but at the cost of your known circle and neighbors – you might need to take time adjusting to the new place of residence. Thinking about weather – snow or tropical climate, beach or mountains would be some good aspects to think about your personal preferences and choices.

Daily routine

While you are working, you definitely have an established daily routine that you may/not deviate from. However, once retired no one (read it as NO ONE) would dictate it for you. Ensuring you stay healthy and have a routine, for your physical and mental well being is totally up to you.

Accommodating preferences

Just because you choose to retire, does not mean your partner also would choose to retire. Just like you have a preference, they might also have a preference to do light part-time jobs, volunteer, get involved in the community, etc. Talking about each other’s preferences and how you plan to accommodate each other in your revised lifestyle helps.

Choosing to retire is not an easy choice. However, if you need to choose for the right reasons (especially health reasons), have a circle of friends who support your choice and encourage you to think what is best for yourself.

Friends go a long way in supporting our personal choices and having our back during tough times. Nurture a close group of friends who would support you (and vice-versa) no matter what! They are worth all the time and effort!

Any choice you make – make it the best one that lets you continue with peace. If you choose to work again few years later (or take up part-time work), remember – it is YOUR choice, and none of anyone else’s business.

To anyone who is pondering, make a list of pros and cons that work for YOU. Above list of aspects are most often contemplated aspects when one thinks about retirement! Remember, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone!

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