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8 Reasons You Should Retire Already

Is it time to retire? Sometimes the writing is on the wall

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Retirement may seem untenable with inflation still elevated, interest rates rising and stocks whipsawing between highs and lows, but for some older adults, hanging on to their job can cause more harm than good. Sure, you still have money coming in, but at what price to your mental or physical health?

“In this economy, people are starting to worry that they don’t have a plan,” says Riley Rindo, senior wealth adviser and managing director at MAI Capital Management. “They are panicking and tending to hang on when they can retire and be perfectly fine.”

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The thought of retirement can be scary, especially when it can easily last 20-plus years. Staying employed for as long as possible keeps you socially connected and the cash flowing. Still, sometimes retirement is the better option, especially if any of these signs rings true.

1. You’re uninterested in the job

Work should give you a sense of purpose in addition to a paycheck, but for many people who have been there and done that for decades, it’s lost its luster. If going into the office or logging on for the day conjures up feelings of dread instead of joy, it may be a sign your job has run its course.

That’s particularly true if it’s hard to get motivated at work or if you’ve become resentful of daily tasks. “If you are 60 or 62, a bad day at work can turn into your last day of work,” Rindo says. “Just being motivated because you think you have to work isn’t very productive.”

2. Your health is suffering

Most people have plans for their golden years, whether it’s traveling the world, moving closer to the grandkids, kicking back at home or starting a second career. Those dreams cost money, but they also require decent health. If your health is suffering and you can afford to retire, now may be the time to make the leap. Why wait until you can’t enjoy the things you worked hard to save for?

“Some people feel like they used up precious remaining years, especially if they have chronic conditions or a health shock they weren’t counting on,” says Matthew Rutledge, an economics professor at Boston College and a research fellow at BC’s Center for Retirement Research.

3. You’re burned out

Whether your job is physically taxing or requires a lot of brainpower, feeling burned out is a big reason older adults make the retirement leap. Working too much can cause stress, which can lead to all sorts of health issues, including an increased risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke. A recent study published in the scientific journal PNAS found stress can speed up the natural aging process of the immune system in people of advanced age, increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and infectious illnesses such as COVID-19.​

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4. You’ve saved enough for retirement

Every penny counts, but sometimes you may have enough pennies to comfortably exit the workforce but are afraid to make the leap. Sure, food prices are still high and stocks are volatile, but if you have enough cash in the bank to live comfortably in retirement, hanging on may be counterintuitive. You don’t want your money to outlive you.​

5. Technology is causing you stress

Technology plays a leading role in how we work these days. Even if we are back in the office, meetings are still conducted via videoconferencing and chat apps. Answers are expected in real time, and always on is becoming the norm. 

For older adults not used to technology, it can be overwhelming and stress inducing — and a reason to retire. “Remote work will keep some in the workforce and drive others out,” Rutledge says.

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6. You have no debt

Having no debt nearing your retirement age is an enviable position to be in. It’s also a reason some people choose to finally retire. They don’t have to worry about a mortgage payment, credit card debt or other recurring bills eating away at their cash flow. They’ve achieved peace of mind, so they take the plunge into retirement. ​

7. You want to pursue a second act

Continuing to work has a lot of benefits, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in your current career. Plenty of people are retiring to pursue second acts, whether that means a new vocation, part-time work, volunteering or business ownership. Moreover, they want to use the money they’ve amassed to travel, pursue hobbies and otherwise fulfill their dreams.

“While working longer is a good solution for people financially, it comes with a trade-off,” Rutledge says. “It takes away some of the fun they deserve.”

8. You’ve reached full retirement age for Social Security

For people born in 1960 and beyond, the full retirement age to begin collecting Social Security is 67. Born before that and it’s less. If you wait until age 70, you stand to get between 24 and 32 percent more in benefits, depending on your year of birth. But sometimes it doesn’t make sense to hold on to your job until then. That’s particularly true if you have enough in a 401(k) or retirement account to cover your financial needs for the final three to five years before you receive your maximum payout. “While most of us stand to benefit from delaying until age 70 (or as close as possible), we know sometimes that won’t be possible,” Rutledge says. “Try delaying as long as possible, but once it becomes uncomfortable to do so — because you have to hang onto a job you hate, or one you can’t do adequately anymore, or you have to go through the tough task of looking for a job (though now is a good time to do so) — giving in isn’t the worst thing.”

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