Many people don’t have much choice about when they retire. Illness, job loss or caretaking responsibilities push them out of the labor force, ready or not.
But some people have the opposite problem: They do have a choice, and yet they can’t quite bring themselves to quit working.
Some love what they do and never want to retire. Others are paralyzed by fear of the unknown, financial planners say. They may worry about living without a paycheck, spending down the money they worked so hard to save or figuring out how to structure their days in the absence of a job.
“A lot of the people I see are financially ready before they’re emotionally ready,” says Cathy Gearig, a certified financial planner in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
If you’re struggling, here are three signs you may be ready to retire.
You’ve faced your fears
Retirement is often depicted as an endless, stress-free vacation. In reality, retirement requires some potentially stressful “paradigm shifts,” or fundamental changes in people’s approach to life, says CFP Barbara O’Neill, author of “Flipping a Switch: Your Guide To Happiness and Financial Security in Later Life.”
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Instead of earning a paycheck, for example, retirees have to create one from their savings and other resources. If something goes wrong – the furnace dies, or their investments don’t do well – they can’t just earn more money to make up for any shortfall.
Those who have been diligent savers often struggle with the idea of spending their money in retirement.
“It’s really emotional for people,” says CFP Janice Cackowski of Willoughby, Ohio. “They’re so used to seeing their account balances increase over the years and they find it really difficult to pull money out of their accounts.”
Other fears — such as being afraid of becoming irrelevant or simply being bored — can cause people to postpone retirement, according to some financial planners. Gearig says some of her most successful clients, including business owners and top executives, have prioritized work to the point where they can’t imagine life without it.
“Honestly, the biggest fear I see is, ‘What am I going to do with myself if I don’t go to work all day?’” Gearig says.
Once you know what frightens you about …….