A Pew Charitable Trust survey revealed that two-thirds of Americans believe they'll continue working past 65. Knowing when you're ready to retire often depends on a variety of factors.
And it's a highly personal decision. Some people love what they do so much they never retire. Others look for ways on how to retire early so they can do whatever they want.
While for some people retirement may seem years away, it's important to learn about retirement as early as possible. Planning ahead can help you know exactly when it's time to retire.
If you want to be in control of your own retirement, keep reading. We're sharing with everything you need to know about retiring on your own terms.
Signs You're Ready to Retire
Are you ready for retirement? If you don't know the signs, it's difficult to tell. Let's go through a few of them now.
1. You Have No Debt
While Baby Boomers carry the least amount of debt, the average one still has around $36,000 worth of debt. Most of the debt is due to mortgages, credit card bills, and car loans.
Carrying no debt allows greater flexibility in determining when to retire. It's a good idea to find ways to start paying down your debts as soon as possible.
2. You Have Savings for Retirement
No matter what your age, it's a smart idea to work out a retirement budget now to help you determine when to retire.
Start by figuring out what standard of living you want to maintain. Then factor in expenses such as housing, transportation, food, and health care.
Calculate how much money you'll spend each year and how long you think you'll live for after you retire.
3. You Can Cover Insurance Gaps
Most people don't realize how important their health is until they get sick or injured. An unplanned illness or injury can easily financially ruin someone.
While Medicare begins at age 65, it doesn't cover everything. If you require long-term care, Medicare doesn't cover that.
Other Types of Insurance
If you plan to retire before age 65, make sure you can afford health insurance on your own. While you can go without insurance, it's incredibly risky, even if you're in good health.
You may want to do research on other types of insurance such as disability, long-term care, and life insurance. Buying these types of insurance when you're young and healthy means cheaper premiums.
4. Your Kids are Financially Independent
Kids aren't cheap at any age. Even if your kids are adults, they may still require your financial assistance.
And if you have children with special needs, their expenses may require you to work a few years longer. Always factor in any dependents you have when considering retirement.
5. You Feel Ready
While relaxing at the beach may seem like a dream come true, it may get old for you quickly. And boredom isn't a good way to maintain your mental or physical health.
It's important to stay active at any age, but especially after retirement. Factor in what types of physical activities you want to enjoy after retirement.
If you feel that your job is beginning to cause physical problems, it may be a sign you're ready to retire.
Make Sure You're Mentally Prepared for Retirement
Since there's no age requirement for when you can retire, it's often a mental decision. Before you make the move to retire, take some time to consider how retiring will affect you and those you live with.
If you don't enjoy having hobbies, the lack of mental stimulation can cause anxiety and depression. You may realize you enjoy your work too much right now to retire.
Factors to Consider Before Retiring
There are a few extra things to consider before you retire.
First, you need to have a discussion with the family members who live with you—especially your life partner. Retirement is a huge lifestyle change for everyone in your family. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Determine if one or both of you are retiring at the same time. If one chooses to retire first, you may want to consider rearranging common household responsibilities.
Discuss how retiring affects your family finances. You may also want to look into other income streams after retirement.
1. Social Security Benefits
Check to see what age you can begin receiving Social Security benefits. The rules differ depending on when you were born. Most can begin receiving their benefits around ages 66-67.
Also, just because you begin receiving those benefits doesn't mean you can't continue working. But you may want to wait a few years before you begin taking Social Security.
If you wait until after you turn 70, you end up getting the largest possible monthly benefit. Especially compared to what you'd receive if you choose to begin benefits as soon as you're legally entitled to.
Create a Social security strategy before you file. It's really difficult to change plans once benefits begin.
2. 401(k) and IRA
If your employer offers a 401K, take advantage of it. Look into starting an IRA. If you're self-employed, open up a SEP account.
Always invest as much as you can into the plan. The earlier you start, the more money you'll have upon retirement.
When you turn 50, you're eligible to start making tax-advantaged contributions to your 401(k) and other employer-sponsored retirement plans. You can even contribute to your IRA.
After age 59½, you're entitled to make withdrawals from your employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs. You can do this without getting hit with that 10% early withdrawal tax. However, you may still owe income tax on the distributions.
At age 70½, you're required to take minimum distributions from IRAs, Roth's and 401(k) accounts. Make sure you understand the tax implications of these required minimum distributions (RMDs).
Last but Not Least: Determine Where You Want to Retire
Before you're ready to retire, it's a good idea to figure out if you want to stay where you are or move to a new location. Some states are better than others as far as living conditions, activities, weather, taxes.