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Ready To Retire

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
choice (33)      freedom (13)      attitude (12)      possibilities (11)     
Most People would consider retirement age to be around sixty-five and yet there are those who continue to work well into their seventies or eighties.

Calendar, retirement
Image courtesy of Flickr.com

More and more we hear advice on how to retire early. If we’re savvy with our earnings and investments we can accumulate enough to be able to leave the workforce early and live a life of leisure.

But how do we really know when it’s time? What is the best time for us to give up the nine-to-five? As with most decisions, it depends on several factors and aside from the obvious one of money, the most important of these is our ‘identity’ – how we define ourselves.

Calendar, retirement
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Are you the kind of person who identifies yourself by the job that you do? Are you so closely equated with your work that it has become who you are? Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that for the most part, but it can become a problem when retirement is seen as a loss of that identity.

There are those among us who could not imagine their lives without the routine that our working life brings – who see retirement as losing their sense of purpose. But then there are those (like me) who fantasise daily about a life of retirement - the opportunity to decide each day what we would like to do with our time.

So which group do you belong to? If you are the former and cannot envisage a life without work, then maybe you need to take a step back and reassess. Yes, retirement is the end of one phase of your life but it can also herald the beginning of a whole new phase - one where you can begin to break out of the restrictive cocoon of a workday routine and explore new avenues.

Calendar, retirement
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

For many people, retirement can be the time when they experience the most growth as a person – a time to learn and develop both in character and awareness of the world at large.

Of course there are advantages in continuing to work after retirement age. Providing you are in good health and can maintain a balance between your job and your life outside work, you can begin to relax and enjoy it more knowing that you are there by choice and not by necessity. You can begin to see your work as an opportunity to pass on your skills and experience to others and to learn new skills, new techniques and new ideas from them.

Calendar, retirement
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Knowing when it’s the right time to retire is an individual thing but here are some things to consider:

- Do you still enjoy your work?
- Are you still able to carry out the tasks expected on the job?
- Are you financially equipped to retire?
- Do you constantly dream of having more time to do other things outside your work?
- Do you use your ‘down-time’ (evenings, weekends and holidays) to enjoy other pursuits or are you always anxious to get back to the job?

If retirement is looming in the near future for you and you are worried about it, perhaps now is the time to start preparing – and I don’t just mean financially. Here are some more things to consider:

- What did you do in your spare time before you had a family and responsibilities?
- What have you always had a curiosity about?
- What have you always wanted to learn?
- Where have you always wanted to go (not just travel but outings and other experiences?)

You don’t need a huge income to enjoy retirement. There are a myriad of experiences to be had that cost little or nothing. Above all, retiring from work should be considered the next step in your life with many more steps yet to come.

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I retired at 26, 1 month before my 1st daughter was born, & never bothered to return to work, mainly because of the boring outfits workers have to wear! My husband was offered a very good redundancy package from his employee after 33 years, so he took that, aged 57.We paid of the of the mortgage years ago.

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