Do I retire or do I continue working?
Is this an emotional decision? Absolutely!
A few lucky folks can easily walk out that door, and never look back... they had employment issues, disliked their supervisors, didn't agree with the company's direction or philosophy, etc.
Maybe it was simply a job and they were eligible to retire, it's not an emotional retirement decision, and out the door they walked -- pension or not.
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Others were "forced out" for a variety of reasons: layoffs, downsizing, management decisions. These folks have to somehow make peace with not having made the decision themselves, and someone else forced them into retirement. That doesn't mean they "must" retire-retire, they can retire from that position, but may work part time, full time, or volunteer elsewhere.. just to keep busy and active. This is a VERY emotional retirement decision, as it's not your decision. There IS life after retirement!
Then there is me, and zillions of you out there -- who simply have to decide whether to Retire or not. Sounds simple when you are 30, 40, whatever -- but when it's YOU, and YOUR retirement, and YOUR life -- the emotional retirement decision is difficult!
Many of us have a hard time with this decision -- it is a very challenging time of life and time of life-changing options that can impact the rest of our lives.
I personally struggled with the retirement decision for over three years... I tell folks I'm not sure if I'll retire in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years, and I'm really honestly not sure. It's not financial - I am lucky enough to have a pension and health care (though the latter is never guaranteed for life anymore).
Here are a few questions that I might ask someone who is struggling with this emotional retirement decision (and my own personal answers to these questions):
Do you like your job? Are you helping society? Does your employer need you? Are you filling some purpose in your employment or community?
What are the negative aspects of your work, your employer, your co-workers? Tell the truth, no sugar coating your job here... The grass is not always greener in retirement.
WHY do you want to retire?
WHAT will you do all day?
Are you financially ready for retirement?
Decisions, decisions... Emotional Retirement Decisions!
Update: It's now 2010, two years after this was written. I retired in April and haven't looked back. I am happy, I am content, and I am loving my retired life!
Update: 2012 here... so thrilled that I retired when I did and still not unhappy with my decision. I did realize, just quite recently, that 2011 was a big blur to me. I didn't accomplish much on my website, I kept busy and did little. How does THAT work? Not quite sure myself... on to more productivity in 2012! Wish me well!
Update 2013: It really took me 3 years to get into the retirement groove... and I KNOW Retirement. That doesn't mean it will happen to you, but I hope you benefit in some small way with my own rertirement decision!