Is it Possible to Know How Long You’ll Want to Keep Working?
Whether to keep working or retire is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make in life. It changes everything, and starts a whole new phase. While there’s no crystal ball, one thing is for sure: Being cautious with this choice can only serve you well.
CNBC’s Kelly Holland explains in the article, “Ready to Retire? Maybe Not Just Yet,” that it’s rarely a bad idea to delay retirement for as long as you can.
You might not predict the exact number of years you’ll stay in the workforce. But you can learn more about what retirement means, and get a clearer picture of when you’ll be ready for it.
Retirement Doesn’t Automatically Herald Social Security
The classic idea of retirement is clocking out of work once and for all. But that’s not entirely accurate, at least not for everyone. Many retirees continue to work, even if not full time. Also, working or not doesn’t determine when you’ll claim Social Security benefits, nor how much you’ll draw. They’re separate decisions for you to make.
Some people consider retirement the time when Social Security benefits start. But the Social Security Administration’s bulletin, “Behavioral and Psychological Aspects of the Retirement Decision,” explains that you can claim benefits while remaining in the workforce.
You can also delay claiming Social Security until age 70, even if you stop working earlier. If you wait, you’ll acquire delayed credits, which will increase your monthly benefits permanently. On the other hand, if you claim them early, at age 62, you’ll draw less permanently.
Work Longer and Earn More Pre-Tax Savings
Your retirement savings accomplishments are a big indicator of whether you’ll want to keep working or retire. Obviously, the more you’ve saved, the better prepared you’ll be. But if you’re not where you’d like to be, there’s probably still time to make up the difference.
If you’ve planned and saved for many years, and hopefully invested well, you should have ample resources set aside for a healthy retirement income, even if you’re still working. Social Security is not a healthy income; you’ll need more.
If you got a late start with planning, however, you may need more time to earn and save. Staying in the workforce can give you that chance through employer-sponsored 401(K) and IRA plans. After age 50, you can take advantage of catch-up contributions, which allow you to save more than you could when you were younger.
Your Plans May Change as Retirement Grows Near
One concerning trend, according to the SSA bulletin, is that people who choose to retire later often change their mind once the chance to retire early becomes real. When you’re too young to retire at all, it’s easier to say that you’ll retire later in life. But once the opportunity to retire early arrives in earnest, even with a lower benefit, it’s harder to walk away from it.
That’s where sticking to your guns can mean the difference between a comfortable retirement with plenty of income, or one where you’ll never draw as much as you otherwise could have. The primary concern with retiring too soon is that your income will run out.
The bulletin further suggests that you can’t really predict everything that could go wrong in the future. All you can do is delay retirement for as long as you can.
Is it really possible to know how long you’ll work? Maybe not, but you can plan well to cover more bases. Staying in the workforce longer could serve you well. You’ll earn more money, and have more opportunities to save.
Just remember that quitting work isn’t tied to when you’ll receive Social Security benefits. If you have other resources, you can stop working earlier and delay your benefits to draw more later.
NewRetirement understands that retirement planning isn’t simple. That’s why we offer a host of resources to help you every step of the way. To get started, try our retirement calculator and see where you stand right now.