There are so many factors surrounding the early retirement decision, ranging from your friends and family to your own satisfaction and activity level. Even if you save enough, there’s no guarantee that bidding farewell to the workplace will bring happiness. For some, early retirement can even lead to a sense of anxiety or a desire to go back to work. Some of the main drawbacks include:
- Years of no income. Leaving the workforce early means you’ll have to support yourself for a longer time, which could last for decades. “With a longer period of time comes more variables and opportunities for a financial plan to go sideways,” Prospero says. Social Security benefits typically aren’t available until you reach age 62. There could also be tax penalties if you withdraw from certain retirement accounts before the age of 59 1/2.
- A potential health insurance crunch. When you reach age 65, Medicare kicks in for health insurance. Before then, you may be on your own. “Depending on your age and income, marketplace insurance policies can be very expensive,” Miura says.
- A loss of meaning. Many workers place a large portion of their identity in their work and when their career has concluded, feelings of emptiness can set in. Retirees “often experience an identity crisis,” Sheehan says. If you don’t have a new chapter planned, it can be hard to find a place and contentment in the non-working years.
- Feeling lonely. It could be challenging for others to understand and support your lifestyle, especially if your peers are still deep in their careers. “Retiring early may be perceived by others as being lazy or unmotivated,” Miura says. In addition, office environments tend to create natural settings for social engagement. If you don’t schedule activities that involve others, you could soon be bored or disengaged with your community.
Talk to your family members and others who are pursuing early retirement before making a decision. You might also get in touch with your financial advisor to see if you have enough to retire early. The best path will be one that fits your preferences and has a financial cushion in place to help you weather the ups and downs of life.
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