4 Reasons People Don't Retire Early — and How You Can

By Amanda Gokee on 7 February 2017 0 comments

Retirement is undeniably a time of drastic change in most people's lives. Typically, people have spent at least four decades in the workplace by the time they accept their gold watch. The average retirement age is 62 to 65, depending on where you live, according to a survey by SmartAsset.

While work can provide routine and stability, as the years go by it can also grow to feel burdensome and stale. When to retire is a very personal question, linked to lifestyle and finances. Here are a few of the common reasons people feel they're not ready for retirement. (See also: 4 Reasons Early Retirement Might be Financially Risky)

Worried About Having Enough Money

It's probably not a surprise that monetary reasons are number one on this list. Having a regular paycheck affords a lot of comfort that can be hard to walk away from.

One of the most common reasons most individuals won't consider an early retirement is fear that their savings will be insufficient to provide the lifestyle they've been used to in their working years.

However, if you're serious about wanting to retire now, there are ways you can make your savings go further, such as retiring in a cheaper state, or even a foreign country where the cost of living is lower. Also, using the right credit card can save you thousands of dollars a year.

Alternatively, the gig economy affords a lot of ways for people who are officially retired to earn disposable income. For instance, you could rent out a room on a site like Airbnb to help pad your savings. Just make sure you check out local laws in your area for any restrictions on short-term rentals.

Hesitant to Lose Identity Tied to Work

In the Western world, one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new is, "What do you do?" The meaning, of course, is what do you do for work. This question is a way of situating someone socioeconomically, understanding their background and education, and gaining a window into their lives.

Of course, identity goes beyond what you do for work, and this is an important shift to be conscious of when considering retirement. Many individuals may feel that they are giving up a part of themselves when they decide to stop working.

However, there are many other meaningful activities outside of work that have an equally important bearing on identity. These may include hobbies such as artwork, exercise, reading, writing, or travel.

While a loss of identity is a common fear for people facing retirement, in reality, retirement can give you the time to explore other creative outlets that you wouldn't have been able to partake in with a busy work schedule.

Instead of viewing the end of work as losing part of your identity, try to shift to viewing this as a time to explore different components of who you are. This will make early retirement meaningful, not boring.

Anxious Due to No Concrete Retirement Plan

According to a 2015 survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, only 49% of consumers have a formal retirement plan. The problem of not having a plan for retirement is that it leaves fears and emotions to govern your decisions, as opposed to concrete numbers. Plus, by putting a plan in place, you can see very clearly what steps you need to follow to reach a certain goal, like retiring in five years, for example. (See also: 7 Retirement Planning Steps for Late Starters)

Afraid of Being Bored and Restless

Some people simply put off retirement because they are worried about being bored with all the extra time on their hands once they're not going to the office every day.

However, retirement doesn't mean that you have to stop working entirely. Some individuals use this time to move from a decades-long career they've grown tired of to more fulfilling employment, or even their own business.

If your new pursuit is something that gives you the chance to vary your work schedule, that can be very stimulating, too. Additionally, some universities offer free classes to those over 65 years of age.

You can also take up countless hobbies like yoga, dance, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, or biking. To stimulate the mind, you can throw yourself into an artistic endeavor or learn a new language, the ideal activity for those who choose to retire overseas.

Retirement is not just the end of one chapter, but also the beginning of a new one. Often, the biggest roadblocks to retiring are fear-based. It can help to re-evaluate the situation by looking at the facts, instead of just relying on emotions.

Of course, the decision to retire is a personal one, and the right age to retire is different for everyone.

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