One of the most important questions that many ask themselves right now is this: Will I have enough to retire?
While this is an important consideration, one of the questions you should really be asking yourself is whether or not you actually want to retire — at least in the conventional sense.
Does It Make Sense to Stop Earning Income?
When many of us think of a “traditional” retirement, we think about giving up on all work, and living off whatever nest egg has been accumulated. However, the idea of retirement is something that’s in transition. The notion of a retirement of doing nothing but spending the money you have accumulated is one that doesn’t make sense for a lot of consumers right now, for two main reasons:
- Concerns about accumulating enough: The first concern is that it might not be possible to accumulate enough to stop working altogether — or at least not as early as 55 like so many would-be retirees prefer. As a result, many people recognize the necessity of working part-time, finding a consulting gig, or looking for some other way to keep the revenue coming in during the first years of retirement.
- No desire to sit around all day: For many, though, the idea of really retiring from work-type activities isn’t appealing. More and more, it’s becoming clear that most of us thrive when we have activities to enjoy, and challenges that keep our minds sharp. Quitting work altogether might mean losses in terms of social support, and reasons to keep moving forward. As a result, it makes sense for some to plan on working longer — just as long as they choose something they enjoy.
Another consideration is longevity. Humans are living longer, and that means that you might need your nest egg to last 30 or 40 years, instead of 20 years. Rather than assume that you have to retire and quit working altogether, it makes sense to consider how you can earn a little extra income as you go along, especially during the early years of your retirement.
The real question, though, probably shouldn’t be one of whether or not you should retire away from the world to enjoy days on end of doing nothing, or engaging in a hobby. Instead, you should probably ask yourself if you are creating a situation in which you have more options open to you, and in which you have financial freedom.
Creating a retirement portfolio that includes income investments and a measure of growth is important when you are facing the possibility of a 40-year retirement. You need your portfolio to keep growing, even as you use the money. You also need to be able to do what you want, whether that’s working part-time at a job you love, volunteering, or traveling.
Consider what is likely to make your life meaningful, and help you feel fulfilled. Chances are those activities have little to do with sitting on your front porch all day. Think about whether or not you really want to retire in the more traditional sense. Chances are that you’ll find that you want to be busy — but that you want the financial freedom that allows you to be busy at the things you actually want to do.