Should I Retire or Keep Working?
Lately a certain reality has been slapping you right between the eyes: These early mornings and long work days aren’t as easy as they used to be.
By lunch time most days you’re out of gas. By mid-afternoon, you’re wishing you were home. The pace. The workload. It’s become almost more than you can bear.
All this has got you wondering–a lot–about retirement. You think How great would it be to be done–for good–with the stresses and demands of this job? Ah! What a dream! Sleeping in. Waking up each day and doing whatever you want. Spending time with family. Volunteering. Pursuing hobbies. Having more time to travel.
Suddenly the question won’t go away:
Should I work a little while longer or should I retire now?
If you find yourself wrestling with this dilemma, don’t worry. You’re not alone. At Christy Capital Management, we’ve had this same conversation with hundreds of people over the last twenty years.
From those conversations, we can give you five reasons you may decide to keep working, and four reasons you may decide that you don’t want to wait: the time for retirement is now.
5 Reasons You May Decide to Keep Working
You might be surprised to hear that some have chosen to work a bit longer. Here are the most common reasons a person might give for reaching that decision:
- You love what you do. Sure, the days get long. But you’re at a point in your career where you actually find your work interesting and rewarding. Maybe you’re in a position you’ve worked hard to reach. Or you have a passion for what you do, and you’re seeing unprecedented success. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky few–that is, you’re at a point in life, where you’re getting paid to do something you’d almost be willing to do for free!
- You want to see certain projects to fruition. You’ve spent countless hours working on a certain initiative. You can’t walk away with a clear conscience until the job is done–and done right. Maybe this particular venture is your baby. You’ve poured your heart and soul into making it a success. You have to see it through.
- You realize you’ll get more in retirement income by working longer. The longer you work, the greater your opportunity to maximize your Social Security benefit. Remember, SSI benefits are based on your highest 35 years of earnings. If you’re like most people, during the first few years of your working life, you paid less into Social Security, because, well, you made less. As the years went by, your income grew, and therefore you paid more into the system.
Now, each year of earning a higher income (and paying more money into Social Security) replaces one of those earlier years when you made and paid less. Hence the potential for a bigger Social Security benefit.
In a similar way, many workers want to stay on a job just a while longer rather than retire now to add more to their “financial nest egg.” After all, the more money one has in a 401(k) plan, or a Roth IRA, the more retirement assets he or she will have to use as an income stream in retirement.
- You want to reduce your debt. For many workers contemplating whether to retire now, credit card debt or large, outstanding consumer loans (e.g., a big car note) are major concerns. Another common source of anxiety is a big mortgage. Many people tell us they want to retire after their mortgage is paid off and/or the majority of their debt is reduced. This is honestly not a bad idea.
Imagine how much more peaceful life would be in retirement if you didn’t have to spend even a penny of your monthly income paying off purchases made long ago.
- You wish to save some money for down-the-road emergencies. Has life ever happened to you? (Dumb question, right? It’s not a question of “if” but “when.”) Savvy people know that financial emergencies will surely blindside them at some point. To weather such crises, they make it a goal to have adequate funds saved and set aside.
They know that when such funds don’t exist, the options are never good.
Most people in that situation either pull out the old credit card, or they dip into their regular living expenses to pay for the unexpected costs of an emergency. When that happens, it can be tricky trying to make ends meet. Life after an emergency can be an even bigger struggle.
4 Reasons You May Decide to Retire Now
For some workers, none of these arguments appeal or apply. You may be one of those individuals. You are more than ready to take the exciting step and retire now. For several reasons:
- Your mental and physical health just aren’t what they used to be. Some people, if they’re honest, realize that they’re not as mentally sharp as they once were. There’s no shame in this. It happens to most. Maybe you find yourself forgetting steps in a process. This is one of the big reasons that people may decide to retire now.
Or maybe your biggest struggles are physical. It’s grueling to get through the day. Your feet hurt. Your bones are constantly creaking and popping. That dull ache in your lower back never goes away. Work was never like this before. But now, it’s difficult to hang in there for eight hours. By the weekends you barely have enough strength to lift the TV remote!
- You want to pursue a hobby or do volunteer or missionary work. One person has a burning passion to help hungry children in a third world country. Maybe you’ve dreamed of teaching others about the health benefits and joys of your lifelong hobby. And yet, with your job, there isn’t enough time in the day to pursue this calling that’s tugging at your heartstrings. However, if you said yes to retirement, you’d have the opportunity to focus on that calling and pursue it at the pace that you choose. Sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it?
- You want to travel. After years of commuting, now you want to cruise. You want to swim in the azure waters of the Virgin Islands. You want to walk on the Great Wall of China. You want to visit a Parisian bakery and eat warm baguettes straight from the oven. Many people in the 50s and 60s figure, “Now is my best chance to explore a world that is more beautiful and amazing than I can even comprehend. I want to travel while I still can.”
- You want to spend more time with family. Perhaps grandchildren have come into your life–and stolen your heart. You want to be there to watch them take their first steps. You want to teach them how to sew or fish. You want to be there for their school plays and sports events. Retirement is how you can be that proud grandparent in the crowd cheering wildly.
Retirement can give you the freedom to do any or all of these things.
Retirement is a Season of Opportunity
At Christy Capital Management, we believe the season of retirement is a prime opportunity to reach for your dreams. You really can wake up and do whatever you want to do.
Whether it’s traveling, spending time with the grandkids, going on mission trips, or taking up a new hobby, you get to pick and choose what you want to do.
If you’re serious about turning all those wants and wishes into viable plans, we’re here to help.
Let us help you wrestle with that big decision–and all the details that will get you to the life you want.
Don’t be like so many who wait until it’s too late. Begin the process now. We can help you move from a great career to a great retirement.
The information provided is not intended as tax or legal advice. Figures shown are for illustrative purposes only furthermore, the information nor the illustrations provided may not be used to avoid any tax penalties. This content represents the general views of Christy Capital Management and should not be regarded as personalized investment advice Nothing herein is intended to be a recommendation. The opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. On March 1, 2022, Retirement Benefits Institute, Inc., and a portion of its contents merged with Christy Capital Management Inc. Brandon Christy, former President of Retirement Benefits Institute, is also the current President of Christy Capital Management, Inc, a registered investment adviser.