Retirement Planning: Deciding When to Retire

While the US Census Bureau reports the average retirement age at 62 and average length of retirement at 18 years, both numbers are changing. Americans have been retiring earlier and living longer in the new millennium. If you are starting to think about retirement and not sure where to begin, there are many resources available to help you, and a few big factors to take into account before buying that motor home or house boat and living a life of adventure.

Envisioning Your Retirement

Other than kissing your 9-5 goodbye, what is really important to you when you picture your golden years? Deciding on the type of lifestyle you would like while sticking to realistic goals is a major first step in planning. Once you have made a list of must-dos and must-haves, consider any and all obstacles that would get in the way of these things, including debts, future bills, mortgage, general living costs and health care.

Length of Retirement

While it can be a little scary to put a number on how much money you will need for the rest of your life, this is exactly what retirement planning is. Therefore, it would be wise to estimate the length or your retirement, i.e. the length of the rest of your life. It may sound morbid, but it's better to be realistic when planning such important matters. Your current health and family history are great factors that will help you to make an educated guess.

Benefits With Age

Following a simple graph can help you calculate what benefits you will receive according to the age at which you retire. If the lifestyle you envision requires a little more money, your retirement may need to be placed on hold for another year or two. Visit ssa.gov and check out their retirement planner.

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