If you’ve been dabbling with the idea of early retirement, it’s a good idea to consider the highlights and challenges of making that leap. Sitting down and weighing out the pros and cons is a great way to get a head start on your early retirement goal. If you begin planning now, you’ll have time to strategize and find ways to overcome some of the challenges. That way you can enjoy a blissful retirement sooner rather than later. To help you get get the ball rolling, here are some factors to consider:
Enjoy more YOU time
Gaining personal time is one of the most significant benefits of early retirement. You’ll be able to do what you want when you want. It’s perfect for pursuing a new hobby or dabbling in a different career. You can reinvent yourself in new and wonderful ways. You can broaden your horizons and learn new skills with the goal of enrichment and accomplishment, not a paycheck. (Granted, extra income is helpful, as it will reduce the funds you’d have to pull from your retirement accounts.) Nonetheless, you’ll finally have the time to write that book, learn how to play a new instrument, build a website, start a pet-sitting business, or whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do. All of these endeavors have the added benefit of keeping you socially engaged with others, which is very important during your retirement years.
Take advantage of your good health and physical abilities
Retiring at an earlier ages means you can take advantage of your physical health and abilities to better tackle your bucket list. Things like international travel, becoming a pickleball pro, or hiking the Appalachian Trail are easier to do at an earlier age like 55. At age 75 you may not have the stamina or agility to do those things as well or as easily. Take advantage of your youthful self and play more golf, give yoga a try, or even better, climb to base camp at Everest.
Rekindle and reinforce personal relationships
You’ve already devoted many years of your precious time to your career and colleagues. Retiring early gives you the ability to divert much of that time and energy to your dear family and friends instead. Spend quality time with your significant other, your children, grandchildren, and other people you hold near and dear. You’ll likely gain much more of a ROI from those relationship investments rather than being in business meetings all day with work associates.
Less income can be an issue
Money is one of the most obvious challenges. Retiring early means that you have less time to accumulate your retirement benefits and that your retirement income will need to last longer. What’s more, your Social Security and pensions may not be available yet. Collecting Social Security right away rather than waiting will also mean a reduced benefit — which could be as much as 30% if you begin receiving it before age 67. If you withdraw from your 401k, IRAs, and other retirement funds too early, you may also have to pay penalties. Instead, start saving money in more liquid accounts as soon as possible. Once you have enough stored away, it can help you ride out the interim between the time you retire and the time you can start collecting your retirement income without penalties. Also, consider moving to a rightsize home in a 55+ community like Soleil. It may seem daunting but doing so can offset some of the financial losses that may come with early retirement. It also can free up home equity and lower your overall housing costs, not to mention, keep you socially active with new friends and neighbors.
Health insurance can be a hassle
Health insurance is a big factor, especially as we age. Once you’re retired, you’ll likely need to find and pay for your own health plan. Granted, health insurance is a very fluid subject right now. One plan that’s available this year may not be around next year, so be prepared for constant change and increases in premiums. If not already, start taking good care of yourself now. Get good exercise, eat healthy foods, floss, and get your checkups. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Also remember that once you turn 65, you’ll be eligible for Medicare, which will help offset the challenge of acquiring health insurance.
Avoid being bored
Many people retire and don’t feel like doing anything afterward. There’s nothing wrong with that, at least for a little while, but boredom can set in quickly. Consider how lonely it is sitting at home watching TV and playing computer solitaire every day while everyone else has gone off to work and school. You’ve seen other people do it, but you don’t have to follow suit. Instead, create a lifestyle plan to determine how to best spend your valuable retirement time. You want to make it as rewarding and fulfilling as possible. Outline travels you want to make, people you want to see, and things you want to accomplish. Can you envision where you want to live? Consider moving to a fun and active 55+ community like Soleil Laurel Canyon. Ours has been:
- Voted Best of the Best by Ideal-Living
- Named One of the 50 Best Neighborhoods in the U.S. by Where to Retire Magazine
- Awarded best 55+ Community by Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association
Adding Soleil Laurel Canyon to your lifestyle plan is a smart move. Come see and learn why so many early retirees have made the move to Soleil. Start planning your visit today.