I just got a great question from a reporter and I wanted to share it with you.
Marcia is writing a story about early retirement and she asked, “How does someone begin to decide when they can or should retire? How does someone know the best age to stop working? Are there milestones we can use as guides to determine if retiring at 50, 55, or 65 is possible or even advisable?”
What a great question! We all assume the answer is that we cannot retire, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here was my answer to Marcia:
The simple answer is that the best age to retire is the youngest age at which you can reasonably sustain your cost of living. There is no magical number, and the number certainly varies from person to person. The real question is, “What does "retirement" mean to you?”
Most people find that they still have a lot they want to accomplish in their lives and while they may not want to work full time, most still want to keep busy.
So, “When is the best age to retire?” It could be tomorrow...Perhaps it's time to go back to school and become the culinary chef you always dreamed of becoming, or you may want to work in your community and give back, or maybe you want to be a beach bum and supplement your income by Ubering when you get bored. Perchance, if you have credit or sufficient savings, you could buy a second house and live off the rental income.
Two things to consider if you want to retire early, if still working:
- It may reduce your Social Security benefit if you apply prior to your hitting full retirement age, and
- Until you qualify for Medicare, you will need to figure out your health insurance coverage.
Both of these are reasons why people delay retirement. That is not to say you cannot work with your employer to reduce your hours to a minimum to qualify for health insurance benefits or find an employer who is open to such an arrangement.