How to Know When to Retire – The Retirement Decision

Written by: Shreya Manerkar- MA (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : March 18, 2023

Roger, a 60-year-old man has been considering if he should retire. However, he wants to know how and when to retire. He doesn’t have the same energy or enthusiasm that he had at the age of 40. Moreover, he has lost complete interest in working. He wants to just relax and take things slow. Does this sound like you? Are you also facing a dilemma about your retirement decision?

In this article, we will discuss what is retirement. Following this, we will explain some sure signs of how to know when to retire. Finally, we will clear your doubts about retiring and if you are taking the right decision.

Let us start by defining key terms – retirement, burnout, and anxiety.

  • Retirement– It is the act of permanently stopping work. When people retire, they fear losing a stable income, being idle, and having a purpose in life.
  • Burnout – When you feel exhausted and worn out all the time. You may feel physical and emotional burnout because of constant stress.
  • Anxiety – When people do not have control over their lives or worry about what the future will hold, they feel anxiety.

Chapter 1:

How to Know When to Retire?

The retirement decision is never an easy one. It is pretty common to dread retirement. Some people however know when they want to completely stop working and enjoy the second phase of their lives. However, for others, knowing when to retire may be difficult. Here are some simple signs you can observe in yourself.

You Have No More Energy

One of the first signs that we know it is time to take it slow and retire is when you don’t have any more energy. You feel exhausted and stressed all the time. Going to work feels like you are climbing Mt. Everest. Every day feels the same and you start feeling bored.

For Roger, along with feeling exhausted, he did not enjoy work anymore. He considered his retirement decision based on how tired he felt at the end of the day. He did not like going to work and was unhappy.

You Have Enough Money

One of the biggest concerns for Roger was his finances. However, after checking on all his savings and considering unexpected financial needs, he had enough in his account.

Similarly, for you to know when to retire, check your account. Do you have enough money for unexpected emergencies? You also need to analyze your current lifestyle and what you are spending. If after all this you feel it is enough, you can make the retirement decision.

Roger did not have any more personal commitments or loans that he had to pay back. Therefore, he knew it was a good time to retire.

You Don’t Have Good Health

When you make the retirement decision, we want you to ask yourself – How is your health? Do you feel too many body aches? How about your emotional health? Have you been forgetting things or having memory issues?

The answer to these questions can be a yes or a no. But we cannot deny the fact that as you age your health declines. So, a good time to know when to retire is when your health does not support you anymore. If you retire because of your poor health, you will feel less stressed.

You Don’t Connect with Your Job

When you are growing in your career, your job becomes an integral part of your life. However, when you achieve our goals, we no longer associate with your work.

This is the most crucial part of your retirement decision. When you feel you want to grow beyond your career, you need to know that it is time to retire. While you may miss the recognition and praises you received while working, you need to change the purpose of your life. Take this time to explore new skills, hobbies, and interests.

Chapter 2:

Concerns People Have When Retiring from Work

A retirement decision is a major life change. Even if you know you want to retire, you will still be very anxious. When you decide to retire, you will be faced with a new set of challenges. We shall discuss them in detail.

Their Health

One of the biggest concerns for people is having enough money to take care of their medical bills. As health declines, people need to go to doctors more frequently. Each visit can be very expensive.

Do They Have Enough Saved?

Once you retire, you may continue having a similar lifestyle. While this is okay, you should estimate how much you have saved. You should also calculate if that amount is enough for your current lifestyle for the next 20 years.

Managing Without an Income

People hesitate to take a retirement decision because they fear losing a steady income. They worry about how they will manage without money coming in every month.

Debt and Loans

While people know it is time to retire, they may hold off on the decision because they have debt and loans which need to be paid. In this situation, people to tackle their debts and loans properly.

Chapter 3:

Should You Take the Retirement Decision?

As we mentioned earlier, people have a lot of concerns when they want to take a retirement decision. While they know they are unable to cope with work demands, it becomes difficult for them to let go.

If you want to know if this is the right time to retire, ask yourself how will your life change. Let us make a list together of the pros and cons of your decision. Make two columns, in the first write “pros” and second” cons”. In the pros section, write why deciding to retire is a good idea. In the cons section, write why it is a bad idea.

While making this list, consider the signs and concerns we have mentioned in the previous section. If you feel you have more pros than cons, it is the right time to retire. If, however, you still have financial commitments, loans, not enough savings, and so on, you will need to hold off on your decision.

Asking anyone to make the retirement decision is easier said than done. Even when you know that it is time to retire, you may still have a lot of apprehensions. If after making the list, you know you want to retire but can’t move forward, we recommend building on your confidence and courage to take this decision. You can enroll in our self-help course ‘Low self-esteem. For some people, they may have other commitments but health does not support their goals. For this, we recommend checking out our self-help course ‘Chronic Fatigue’.

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