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Deciding if and when to retire

Part 3 - When Should I Retire?

Those people who feel that they want to go on for ever may not phrase the question in that way. They may well approach it from the point of view that if, for some reason, they have to retire, or change their mind and decide that they want to retire, what will they do about it and how will they make the most of their retirement. The rest of us will think about it in terms of, 'When should/can I retire?'

However we phrase the question, the planning process will be similar and there are a number of things that we need to think about, amongst them being our finances.

Many of us will feel that our financial situation is the basic ingredient, because we need to have sufficient money to live and to enjoy retirement. We need to work out our finances and come to a view about when we can afford to retire. We need to consider whether there is anything that we can do now to improve our financial situation in retirement and, if so, what and how long will it take. For some initial guidance on doing this, take a look at our Guide to Making the most of our money in retirement. Also, go to the first page of our Finance section, have a look at it and click on the links to get an overview of the things that you need to consider and some help with where to go for help.

However, our decision about, ‘When should I retire?’ has to take into account what we want to do in retirement because that, in turn, will determine how much money we need. Therefore, the lifestyle elements of retirement are equally as important as finance and the two are inextricably linked. So we also need to include the following in our retirement deliberations:

Lifestyle Expenditure

1. Travel. If we want to do a lot of travelling and take a lot of holidays in retirement, there are financial implications.

2. Hobbies. Some hobbies are much more expensive than others. Have a look at our Guide to Hobbies and Interests and go to the first page of our section on Enjoying Later Life and click on the links.

3. Moving House. Moving house costs money but, if we downsize, we may release more money for the retirement pot. Also, ongoing running costs will reduce if we move somewhere smaller. If you're thinking of moving abroad, go to our Guide on Moving abroad.

4. Keeping Fit. There are ways that we can keep physically fit without spending any money. On the other hand, if we want to join a gym or play golf, for example, they can be very expensive.

5. Family. Many people will either have responsibility towards family members or, indeed, wish to help them because it's a good thing to do. Either way, it might cost money.

Lifestyle Income

1. Work. We might want to consider doing some part-time paid work in order produce some income in retirement. Have a look at our Guide to part time work on the laterlife.com site.

2. Hobbies. We could turn an unpaid hobby into something that could make us some money. For example, many people buy and sell things on ebay or at car boot sales in retirement. These are very often things that people have collected for years and therefore know something about. If we have creative skills it is sometimes possible to make money out of our creativity.

So when we are thinking about when to retire, the above issues are those that we should consider. They are all important matters and finance and lifestyle are interlinked: some of our lifestyle choices (but not all) will depend on finance and finance will determine our lifestyle. Whenever we have to make choices and decisions in life it's useful to receive some help and advice in order to help us clarify our thoughts, confirm that we're on the right track and give us some expert help. So where can we get this help?

There are 3 choices provided by Laterlife and you might want to make use of them all in turn.

(1) First of all take a look at our Guide: Why plan for retirement? This Guide covers some of the important things you need to think about

(2) Then either use the Online planning retirement workshop on our separate site www.planonline.co.uk

(3) Or attend one of our Laterlife 'Preparing for Retirement' workshops

Attending a 'Preparing for Retirement' workshop does help with the process of deciding if and when to retire and surveys have shown that they lead to an increase in life satisfaction in retirement. Many such workshops concentrate solely on the financial aspects of retirement, but it's far better to attend one that covers lifestyle, too, such as the Laterlife 'Preparing for Retirement' workshops.

These one-day workshops look at finance but concentrate on the lifestyle topics that are mentioned above and others such as keeping fit mentally. So they provide a much more balanced view of retirement in order that delegates can see the inter-relationship between finance and lifestyle in retirement. Because of their interactive nature, they also provide delegates with lots of ideas on what's available and how they can choose the things that will best suit them as individuals. To find out more, go to our section on Pre-retirement Courses.

Now that the default retirement Age has gone and the choice of when to retire is very much up to us as individuals, there is also help available from the Government website, www.directgov.co.uk. For advice on your options for working after state pension age, go to this page and for some more information about the legislation, look here.

Summary

Deciding if and when to retire is very much our own decision now. It is a decision not to be taken lightly and one that deserves both thought and planning. This article provides some preliminary help by indicating some of the things that you need to consider in your planning.

There is also help for you in making these very important decisions, so you do not need to go it alone. Ensure that you talk to your partner, if you have one, other family members and friends. Also think about getting some professional help such as a Laterlife Preparing for Retirement workshop. As we say at Laterlife: It's worth one day to make the most of the next 10,000!

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