When it comes to retiring early, everything you need to know boils down to two things: time and money. In this short article, we cannot address every tidbit of knowledge necessary to navigate early retirement. But understanding that time and money are central to how you and your partner will experience your golden years can make the transition a little bit easier.
Retiring early is an admirable goal. However, in the rush to retire, it can be difficult to paint a clear picture of what early retirement will be like. For most retirees, images of days on the golf course or traveling the globe are common. But, as it turns out, reality often looks very different.
Too much time – While working, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. As a retiree, you have every hour of the day to yourself. It is important to consider getting involved in enough activities or hobbies to fill up the additional 40-plus hours a week you will get back.
Fewer or newer friends – You may be retiring early, but what about your friends? Most will still be working, making early retirement a lonely place if you aren’t willing to make new friends or truly enjoy hours of alone time.
Preparing your family – Early retirement certainly affords more time with your grandkids. However, your spouse is about to see much more of you too. Divorce after 50 has nearly doubled for couples who didn’t prepare for this major life transition.
Retirement is expensive and even more so when done early. Having a workable budget and planning for contingencies is just the start of ensuring you are financially ready. Even so, many retirees aren’t prepared for how significantly their finances will change.
You will spend more – With time on your hands and health on your side, the odds are you will spend more than you had budgeted. Every day feels like a weekend and too many retirees treat them as such by eating out more often, participating in more leisure activities, and spending money on ways just to occupy their time.
Health care is costly – As you wait for Medicare eligibility, you must purchase your own health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, in today’s marketplace, even the most barebones policies are exorbitantly expensive, with no signs of relief in sight.
Investment strategies change – Not only will you no longer contribute to retirement accounts, but you will likely need to become much more conservative in your investment strategy. This will reduce your annual return and limit the income you can withdraw each year.
Early retirement can be fun and exciting. But, before taking the plunge, take a moment and chat about the challenges others have faced when retiring early. The most important advice is to ensure you are retiring toward something and not from something.