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Retiring Young - Pros and Cons

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Retiring Young Retiring Early Early

Most of us will have trudged home from work on many occasions and really wished that we could just walk away and never go back. And unless we win the lottery or come into some vast amount of inheritance money, the chances of us retiring young are pretty limited for the vast majority of us. Unfortunately, finance is the biggest issue and to retire young (or earlier than usual), it’s important that we’re confident that we can support ourselves and any spouse or children for the additional years when we’re not working so what are the pros and cons of retiring young?

Retiring early means that, generally speaking, we’ll be in better all-round health to do all the things that we really want to do and to do them for longer. Whether it’s pursuing new leisure activities or travelling around the world, retiring younger should be about giving us more scope and freedom to do all the things we’ve not been able to do as much, if at all, whilst we’re at work.

Many people who retire at the usual age suffer the misfortune of ill health shortly after they retire and may ask themselves the question, “what if I’d retired earlier...I could have done so many things which I can’t do now”. Furthermore, many people tragically die shortly into their retirement which somewhat negates all of the financial provisions they’ve put into place to last them 20 or 30 years after they’ve left work.

The most important factor is financing an early retirement. Many people don’t think this through well enough and although they might be the envy of friends who are still having to go to work for a few more years, the early retirees may soon find that the money available to them via pensions and the like simply isn’t enough to sustain them in the kind of lifestyle they aspire to for very long.

Others find that the ‘idyll’ of early retirement doesn’t quite live up to their expectations and they soon start to feel bored and at a loss with how to fill up all of the extra time. Some also find that being in the company of their spouse and family for longer periods of time than they’re used to become somewhat of a strain and it can sometimes put additional pressure on a relationship.

Therefore, retiring young is not quite as cut and dried as thinking that you’d rather be anywhere than in work. There are many factors to consider and they all need to be carefully thought through and discussed with other family members and probably financial and pension advisers too before taking the decision to retire early.

However, if you have reached the point where you know that you want to retire young and have worked out that it is financially possible to do so, how else can you ensure that it’s likely to be a wise decision.

In this scenario, it then really boils down to the question of finance in the main. Whether it’s early voluntary redundancy payments, work pensions, statutory pensions etc., you need to do all of these calculations then look at other options too. Perhaps you place retiring early well above maintaining a specific lifestyle in terms of level of income. Therefore, you may choose to cut back on your spending and invest some of the savings you’re able to make for later years. Maybe you’ll choose to think about downsizing your home if your kids are off your hands. Or you may have other ‘talents’ which you know you can make a living off, should you need to make additional money as you go.

As long as you and your immediate family are sure that early retirement would benefit all of you and that you’ve worked out the finances and have reached a decision that it would be financially possible, then retiring early does present many more opportunities for you to enjoy your leisure time and to pack more in to your retirement whilst you’re still likely to be more active and in better health than you might be later on in life. It’s a decision that’s not to be made lightly, however.

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