Early Retirement A New Ball Game

Early Retirement A New Ball Game

An early retirement is on everyone’s wish list.  A relaxing lifestyle in a warmer climate, or the pursuit of a hobby or personal interest typically characterizes the vision of a comfortable retirement. Today, however, it’s a new ball game. Unfortunately, retiring later, not sooner, than anticipated is becoming a fact of life. On the other hand, there are some issues you can address in advance that may help you defy the increasing norm.

The key is to take a proactive role when planning your retirement, especially if you wish to retire early. Today, it is not uncommon for some retirees to require between 60% and 80% of their pre-retirement income in order to meet expense and income needs consistent with their desired standard of living. Naturally, the sooner you begin planning, the better your chances for early retirement. However, it is equally important to note that most people who have managed to retire early have recognized the changing concept of retirement.

A Change in Retirement Culture

Various factors are redefining how Americans approach retirement. Due to financial necessity, or sometimes an overabundance of leisure time, some retirees are beginning to return to the workplace. For example, many retired executives are starting their own part-time consulting businesses. Part-time work during retirement may be worth consideration as a part of your overall financial plan, especially if you plan to retire early.

Another interesting factor that is redefining retirement is that life expectancies continue to increase over time. For some, spending one-third of their lives in retirement is a possibility. Relying on qualified retirement plans and Social Security will be increasingly difficult because these retirement programs were not designed to provide perpetual income. Adding to the dilemma of increased longevity, qualified retirement plans have gradually shifted the savings responsibility from employers to employees. Thus, your retirement assets, as well as personal savings, are in your hands, and they will have to work longer and harder to help fulfill your objectives, regardless of whether you retire early or not.

An often overlooked aspect of retirement planning is money management once retirement has begun. To ensure that you have adequate retirement assets, your money may have to continue working for you throughout your retirement years. In addition, inflation—along with the amount of withdrawals from your qualified plans and other assets—will have a direct impact on the longevity of your retirement assets.

It is also important to note that early retirement may incur certain tax penalties on early withdrawals from retirement plans. All options need to be investigated. Before taking action, consult your professional tax, legal, and financial advisors to determine the overall impact on your long-term financial goals.

Get Involved!

For many people, financial planning and part-time work have become essential components of a comfortable retirement. By maximizing your personal savings, you will increase your chances of reaching your retirement goals. Remaining active and focused on your retirement objectives is particularly important if you are contemplating, or are forced into, early retirement.

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