You could retire at an early age. In fact, that’s the dream for many people. However, you don’t have to. Should you work longer? Should you work even well after the traditional retirement age? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Here are some things to think about to help you decide.
What Does It Mean To Work Longer?
Retirement means different things to different people these days. Maybe you really want a FIRE lifestyle. In other words, you want to continue to earn income but to be free of a workplace commitment. Alternatively, perhaps you plan to retire at a traditional age from a government or corporate job. However, you’re wondering should you work longer than age 62 or 65 or 67, which are the typical retirement ages. First, define what it really means to you when you decide to work longer.
Consider Quality of Life
Some people want to retire early so that they can fully enjoy their retirement years. They see retirement as freedom from the workplace grind. However, there are people who don’t do well after retirement. They actually find that they miss doing the work that they loved. Ask yourself honestly what you expect from retirement life. If you love your job then you might enjoy working longer even if you don’t need to do so financially. If you hate your job, then you might decide that leaving early is worth it.
Earn More for Longer
The biggest reason that you might decide to work longer is that you’ll continue to earn more money. Obviously, money does play a role in the quality of life. Once you retire, you have to live off of your retirement income. The longer you delay retirement, the more income you’ll have for those retirement years. First of all, you won’t be spending that retirement money. Second, you’ll earn more while you delay retirement. This can make a significant difference in the amount of money that you’ll have when you do retire. If your main goal is to have as much money as possible in retirement, then you should work longer if you can.
Better Social Security Options
You get much better social security if you wait to retire. In fact, for each year after the traditional retirement age until age 70, Social Security will add 8%. In other words, if you retire at 67, you get a certain amount of Social Security. In contrast, if you retired the following year, you’d get 8% more. Moreover, your spouse’s social security benefits may go up as high as 60% if you retire at 70 as compared to 62. Consider your Social Security benefits carefully when deciding if you should work longer.
Should You Work Longer Hours Instead of More Years?
Sometimes, when people ask themselves “should you work longer” they mean longer hours. In other words, should you put in more time now so that you can work fewer years in the long run? Obviously, it’s tempting to work long hours when you’re young. After all, you have the energy, perhaps you don’t have a family, yet. Therefore, you might want to add those hours up now to build that nest egg.
While there’s nothing wrong with that approach, there’s something you should know. Working longer hours typically doesn’t make you more productive. Moreover, you can easily burn out. Therefore, you want to make sure that you consider your work-life balance. Should you work longer now so you can have more time later? Perhaps, but only if you don’t harm yourself in the meantime with overwork.
Finally, Have a Plan B
After weighing all of your options, you might decide that you should work longer. You set your goals, and you’ll work towards those. However, make sure that you have a Plan B. Illness, family changes, and changes in the marketplace can all lead to unexpected early retirement. As a result, you want to have your goals as well as your backup plan. After all, if those goals don’t work out as planned, then you still want to retire safely and comfortably.
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