Am I Ready to Retire?

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“Am I Ready to Retire?

By: Kerm Hamilton

Retirement carries a basket full of expectations, misconceptions and surprises.

When pondering the future status of work life, the following question often surfaces: “Should I stay, or should I go?”  The answer to this question most likely changes with emotional, physical and fiscal “pushes and pulls” for individuals living in their mid-sixties.

Readiness for this “Next Phase of Life” can come with a rich mix of excitement, fear, happiness and uncertainty.  Let’s take a look at some facts and considerations that might impact your decision.

Current life expectancy data shows the following:

– Average length of retirement:                                                                18 years

– Average female life expectancy upon starting retirement:   86.7 years

– Average male life expectancy upon starting retirement:      84.4 years

This information shouts a very important message.  Whether or not you are considering retirement at this time: Start dreaming and planning NOW.

Here are some additional questions that greatly enhance more conscious decisions about how you want to live the “next phase of life”:

How much money do I need to live my life in-synch with my dreams and plans?

This blog will not provide any financial advice on this most common question.  Don’t worry – – there are plenty of resources available for you to do the math on answering this question. A quick piece of advice: you are not alone in this journey. You probably have friends and family who can give you ample advice on where to go, and not go, when pursuing this financial planning.

Medical and other life insurance matters are somewhat pushed on you when having to make a coverage decision at age 65.  Unfortunately, this facet of your next phase is a constantly moving topic that shows little or no indication of near-term clarity.  Work with your HR contacts, financial planner, accountant, and/or tax preparation professional to obtain medical coverage and insurance information that relates to your income and savings.

What do you want to do when you leave the work-a-day world?  The sometimes hidden questions associated with this topic are: Do you want to start a new career?  Do you want to pursue volunteer service activities that can make your work-life successes seem more significant with the lives that you touch?  Do you want to go on a cruise to a far-away place, or a road trip to see family and long lost friends?

You have planning skills that have served you well in your job or career.  Use these skills.  Start dreaming and planning NOW.

Are you mentally and emotionally ready for this important change?

A personal story:  My Father retired after serving in the Air Force for 26 years. He entered the Army Air Corp. in WWII at the age of 17, as a Buck Private, and retired as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force.  As most men his age, he served the United States nobly.  He was also burnt-out, physically and mentally fatigued when leaving his self-defining career.

When asked what he was going to do next, he said: “I’m only going to work on my golf handicap.”  And so, he did – golfing 3 times a week.

After about 6 months, he became bored with golf.  He started to re-acquire poor habits that he used, when attempting to handle the stresses of prior work, while serving his country.

Simply put, he went from “burn out to rust out”.  His identity anchors were cut loose upon retirement.  He missed and needed the mental challenges of his career.

The result? He went back to work with the U.S. Government, in a leadership role that was reinforced by his previous accomplishments.

Retirement, to him, was “unplugging” and “disconnecting”, with little or no consideration on how to stay mentally and socially active.

In future ICC blogs, more questions about your readiness for the “Next phase of your life” will be available.

Please know that ICC has highly competent Career Transition Coaches that are immediately available to listen, question and advise you on how to make more conscious choices about this next chapter in your life.

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