Retirement is like the distant light at the end of the tunnel. We all want it to come sooner rather than later; kick it into high gear and let the golden years begin. As amazing as it would be to retire at 55 and spend your days traveling the world and sampling every flavor of gelato that Europe has to offer, it’s important to be realistic when deciding to put your working years behind you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of early retirement so you can make the best decision for you and your family!
Cons of Early Retirement
Loss of Salary
For every year you aren’t working, you are also not receiving the money you’re accustomed to getting. Since you can’t collect any Social Security benefits until age 62, you’re likely to have no incoming cash for several years. Look at it this way: If you’re used making $80,000 a year, by retiring five years early, you’ll be missing out on $400,000 you would’ve otherwise received. That would be enough to pay for two college educations! Additionally, you’ll be forced to tap into your savings at an earlier age, which could potentially sacrifice your financial comfort as you approach your 80s and 90s.
Loss of 401(k) Contributions
If you’re used to your company contributing to your 401(k) retirement plan, this incredibly helpful matching agreement will no longer be in effect! The average $80,000 employee receives 40% of their salary in benefits, which includes 401(k) contributions. So $30,000 over several years will really add up! You may not realize how much your company’s contribution to your 401(k) plan helps until it’s gone.
Loss of Medical Insurance
Since you are parting with your company, you’ll have to find new medical insurance. This new plan won’t be subsidized by a company, and you’ll no longer receive a group rate. Additionally, you won’t qualify for Medicare until you’re 65. So whatever plan you purchase won’t get any tax deductions. Yikes, this could get pricey!
Loss of Social Security Benefits
You can’t receive your Social Security benefits until you’re 62. For every year you retire early, you get a 7% reduction from your monthly check. Even at 62, you’ll receive 25% less benefits than you would if you waited until you were 66. You won’t get the full amount of benefits until you’re 66. If you retire early, make sure you’re prepared to support yourself without a significant monthly check from Social Security.
Pros of Early Retirement
Indulge in Hobbies
If you choose to retire early, you’ll have more time to enjoy your favorite hobbies. Being a younger retiree means you’ll have more years to do active activities. You’ll be able to enjoy things like hiking, skiing or kayaking while you’re still physically fit! Waiting longer limits those active years in retirement.
Start Something New
With years of business experience and money saved up, you could have the resources to create your own business doing something new and exciting. You could turn your hobby of photography, website design or woodworking into a small business. This allows you to make a bit of money in retirement doing something you love!
Without the stresses of deadlines, meetings or bosses, you’re likely to be a happier and healthier person. Not being stressed about work will allow you to sleep better, focus on a healthy diet and have more time for exercise. Having a little extra time could do wonders for your body and mind and help you live even longer!
If you’ve properly planned and saved enough money to make early retirement a possibility, you’ll be admired by your co-workers, family and friends. Making this happen is a great success that isn’t attainable by any average Joe. This big achievement is worthy of praise and something you should be proud of!
To help determine whether you’re on track to retire early, check out Bloomberg’s retirement calculator!