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When it comes to the "right" retirement age, there is no right answer. The traditional retirement age of 65 may not be feasible – or desirable – for you. But what really matters is if you are financially and emotionally ready to stop working.
We think it's important to invest some time now to prepare for this change, so be sure to get your spouse and other family members involved in the conversation. Openly discussing your vision can help ensure a successful adjustment to your new life. And even though there's a lot to think about, your financial advisor can help you better prepare for the financial impact of not working full time – whenever that may be.
Thinking about your answers to the following questions can help bring your vision to life:
The idea of a traditional retirement doesn't fit many of our ideal notions anymore of how we may want to spend our future. You may want to travel, volunteer or spend more time with your family. You could also be ready to spend more time enjoying a hobby or even start a new career. Having a plan of what will make you happy during the next phase of life can help you start to envision what your days may look like.
You've probably worked most of your adult life. Making the switch can be a big adjustment. It's normal to be excited yet have some doubts. You don't have somewhere to go every day. Are you OK with that? Do you have other things you want to do? Money is only part of the picture. Make sure you've thought through how you actually feel about retiring.
Write down the first three, five or 10 things you want to do – and don’t expect to achieve them all in the first week. Remember, you’ll have plenty of years to fill with the things you want to do.
Does your spouse or partner want to retire when you do? If so, what's your health insurance situation? Is working part time or volunteering an option or desire for you? If you want to travel, does your partner? Talk to your partner about his or her ideas about retirement. If you have different visions, discuss them and find some common ground. By talking now, you can work together to make the best of retirement for both of you.
Talk to your children about their – and your – expectations. For example, do they expect you to offer child care or other favors after you are no longer working full time? If necessary, decide on ground rules and boundaries ahead of time. This can help prevent uncomfortable conversations down the road.
It's OK to be a little concerned about making the right choices about retirement — these are big decisions. Working with your financial advisor can help address some of these worries and make you feel more confident about your path forward.