There are many factors that impact when we think is the best time to retire. One to consider is the push and pull factor.
Push refers to the things about work that make you want to leave. They are pushing you toward retirement and away from work. These might be long hours, a stressful commute, hectic days, unreasonable deadlines, difficult supervisor, office politics, changing technology, etc.
Pull refers to the things that are attractive about retirement such as less stress, more control over your schedule, opportunities to explore new interests, travel, etc. Think of these as pulling toward retirement. Pull factors may also include attending to increasing responsibilities, such as caring for an elderly parent.
Since the decision of when to retire is so important, it is essential that you evaluate your push and pull factors.
What is pushing you away from work? Do you experience the push factors everyday or just some days?
Negative events have a way of holding our attention longer than positive events. If you keep a daily journal to record how you feel about your work, maybe you'll find that many days continue to bring you fulfillment and satisfaction.
A high school history teacher told me that he has a 4-day rule. If he has four bad days in a row, then he's going to retire. So far he hasn't gotten past three. This is his way to evaluate his push factors.
The pull factors also need to be evaluated. We think we want more time to do the things we enjoy doing, but we're not very good at assessing just how much time we need for those things. We're making the decision at a period when we don't have any extra time.
One way to try out your pull factors is to take an extended break from work so that you can "practice" being retired. Experience what it feels like to have so much unstructured time. Spend considerably more hours with your spouse or partner than you can when you’re working. How well do you manage idle time? Are you doing the things you wanted to do and experiencing the intentions that pulled you toward retirement?
I don't think there is a perfect time to retire. However, by knowing your push and pull factors, you'll be in a better position to make an informed decision.
Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.