Four reasons why you may not be ready to retire

4 MIN READ | #blog

A lot of life’s greatest moments are marked by your readiness – or not – for special life events. Are you ready to graduate and enter the working world? Are you ready to marry and to share your life with another person? Are you ready to buy a home or to start a family? Many of these milestones involve defining a level of preparedness, both personal and financial. Retirement is no different. Just because you’ve reached a specific age or worked a certain number of years doesn’t mean you’re ready to retire.

Reason #1: You’re not sure how long your savings will last 

The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, reports that only 41% of workers or their spouses have tried to calculate how much money they’ll need for retirement.1 Even if you’re among those who have made an attempt at retirement planning, your plan may not account for extraordinary circumstances. Many people may assume that spending throughout retirement will be regular and methodical, or they may simply believe there’s a magic retirement savings number. While it is possible to plan for some expenses such as housing, travel or everyday cost of living, it’s easy to forget how unexpected major expenses can disrupt your plan. You may encounter medical expenses, for example, or even a family member in financial distress.

You may not be ready to retire if you think there’s a magic number for retirement savings. Consider building more factors such as your life expectancy, your health and unforeseen expenses into your plan. This retirement planner can help you set more realistic goals for yourself.

Reason #2: You’re not sure when to draw Social Security benefits 

You may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or as late as 70.2 However, your total benefit depends on your full retirement age as well as several other factors (depending on the date of your birth, full retirement age ranges between 66 – 67). The decision to start receiving Social Security benefits should take into consideration your health, life expectancy and other sources of retirement income, such as individual retirement savings accounts.

You may not be ready to retire if you assume your Social Security benefits will ‘take care of themselves.’ Invest time in understanding the Social Security system and balancing your decision of when to start receiving benefits with your lifestyle and overall retirement plan.3

Reason #3: You’re not on the same page with your partner 

Will retirement help or hinder your relationship with your spouse or partner? Will you retire at the same time, or will one of you delay retirement longer than the other? It’s easy to assume that the retirement of one or both spouses will be easy on your relationship. However, you’ll face many decisions ranging from how to spend money to how to spend your time together. One spouse may dream of extensive travel while the other prefers conservative spending. You may start spending a lot more time around the house, but your spouse may perceive that you’re underfoot. While for many, the decision to retire is nearly as extensive as the decision to wed; it involves the thoughtful merging of two lifestyles under one roof.

You may not be ready to retire if you haven’t completed an honest relationship inventory – taking both the personal and financial into account. Consider giving equal time and weight to your financial calculations and a growth plan for your relationship.

Reason #4: You’re not sure how you’ll spend your time 

If you spent 40+ hours per week working throughout your career, you may find filling those hours in retirement isn’t as easy as you expected. Yes, retirement is a time for rest and rejuvenation. However, it’s not exactly a vacation either. After an initial break from the rigors of the traditional work week, you may find that boredom and listlessness set in. You may miss your colleagues, and you may even feel left out as the working world moves on without you.

You may not be ready to retire if you haven’t developed a game plan for pursuing meaningful activities and relationships throughout retirement. Consider activities like volunteering, mentoring programs or classes. Channeling your energy into social contributions offers both personal reward and new friendships.

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1 The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefit Research Institute


3 The Social Security Administration has not approved, endorsed, or authorized this article. Contact the Social Security Administration for complete details regarding eligibility for benefits.


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