Though the average retirement age is a relatively youthful 62, more and more workers are working through their sixties, and even into their seventies. A changing economy, an increasingly demanding workplace, and financial problems all contribute to this tendency to work later. Further complicating matters is the fact that the decision to retire is as much a psychological choice as a financial one. So how do you know it’s time to move on to your third act? Here are five telltale signals.
You’re Unmotivated to Learn New Things at Work
To thrive in today’s workplace—particularly when you must compete to keep up with new college graduates—you must continually learn new skills and master new technologies. The specifics change from job to job; lawyers need to stay on top of new legal precedent, while marketing gurus must master the intricacies of online marketing. But one thing remains constant: if you don’t feel motivated to learn, you might soon be pushed out.
Here’s one issue to consider: if your lack of motivation seems to have come out of nowhere, you might be depressed. Otherwise, your tendency to drag your feet might mean it’s time to drag yourself into life’s next act.
If you feel overwhelmed at work, it’s time to consider retiring. Learning new things becomes more difficult as we age, and a youth-obsessed workplace climate can further sap your motivation. If your performance has deteriorated, it’s time to honestly assess whether you’re prepared to keep working.
You Feel Distanced From Workplace Culture
Happiness at work is a major predictor of mental health. After all, you spend at least eight hours there each day, and much of your social life might center around your working relationships. If you feel like you don’t fit into your workplace culture—and particularly if you feel that this is due to a generation gap or a subtle campaign to push you out—consider moving onto greener pastures. It can be tempting to stay and fight for your job, and to show the younger workers what you know. But if you’re going to retire in a few years anyway, why spend the last years of your career alternating between panic, frustration, and anger?
You Have Serious Health Problems
There’s no honor in working through a serious health problem. Indeed, you’re likely to make your condition worse, and potentially even shorten your life, if you continue pushing on in the face of cancer, dementia, or another life-threatening health issue. Moreover, your work product may suffer, undermining the quality of your relationships with your co-workers, supervisor, and clients.
If your health has taken a turn for the worse, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. After a lifetime spent working hard, it’s time to take a break.
You Can Afford to Retire
No matter what circumstances you face, you cannot retire unless you are able to afford doing so. Before you make any life-altering decisions, review your retirement package and Social Security eligibility, then consult with a financial advisor or planner. There’s nothing more difficult than trying to return to work after an ill-fated retirement, so you owe it to yourself to ensure you’re ready. And remember, if you face circumstances that force an early retirement, such as a serious health concern, and are over the age of 62, you may be able to tap into your home’s equity via a reverse mortgage. This strategy can supplement even a paltry retirement fund.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.