After years of hard work, you’re certainly entitled to a happy retirement. It’s possible that you’ve already started daydreaming about it. The options are limitless. Even so, many workers are a little afraid of retirement. Add to that the economic fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has added another layer of complexity for many aspiring retirees.
So, how can you know when it’s the proper time? Here are six signs that indicate you’re ready to retire if you want to.
- You’ve Reached the Age of Full Retirement
Your complete retirement age for Social Security purposes is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. If you’re born after 1959, you’ll have to wait until you’re 67. Between those dates, it’s 66 and some months. Although you can start claiming Social Security benefits as early as 62, your benefits will be much higher if you wait until full retirement age. If you start your retirement benefits at 62, your monthly payment is reduced by a whopping 25%.
- You’ve paid off your debts.
You’re in good shape for retirement if you’ve paid off all of your debts. If you have credit card debt or owe a lot of money on a house or car, you might want to put off truly enjoying your days of freedom.
A large mortgage or car payment can put a strain on your finances if you’re on a limited income. It also makes it more difficult to deal with unexpected expenses. Try to pay off the majority, if not all, of your outstanding debts before you send in your retirement notice.
- You’re No Longer Supporting Kids or Parents
Are your kids all grown up, out of the house, and earning their own income? That makes retiring a lot easier for you.
However, if you’re still supporting your kids or helping them out regularly, you may want to put your retirement plans on hold for a while. You should also hang on if you have elderly parents who require financial assistance now or in the future.
- You’ve Created a Retirement Budget
It’s critical to determine whether you can live comfortably on your post-retirement income before quitting your job.
After you’ve determined your retirement budget, you’ll need to calculate how much money you’ll need to cover those expenses. As mentioned earlier, your sources of income will typically include retirement savings, Social Security, and pension payments, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Another key rule of thumb when determining how much income you will have in retirement: “Your retirement budget, if you retire in your mid-60s, should not exceed 4% of your investments plus Social Security and pension payments,” says Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, of Sullivan Financial Planning LLC in Denver, CO.
- Your Portfolio Is Updated
When was the last time you examined your investing portfolio closely?
If you haven’t reviewed your portfolio in a while, now is the moment. If your portfolio has suffered significant losses in recent years, your savings account may not be as vast as you expected. The long-term effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on retirement security are still being determined.
As you near retirement, you may also want to shift to a more conservative investment strategy to protect your retirement wealth.
- Your Spouse Agrees
Retirement does not affect simply you unless you live alone. Retirement is a joint decision that you and your partner must make.
One factor to discuss is how the reduction in your income will affect your partner. If you and your spouse are both financially and emotionally ready for it, you’ll be more likely to enjoy a fulfilling retirement together. If your partner plans to work for a long time, your retirement may be much more lonely than you anticipated. On the other side, if both partners have work, retiring at the same time can be a financial and psychological shock. Work out the best timing for each of you and both of you.
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