Deciding when to retire is difficult for many seniors. There are many important considerations to keep in mind. From finances, to choosing whether to stay in your home or consider senior living, there is a lot to think about! Your emotional and mental health is one of the most important factors when deciding when to retire. The way you transition to retirement and your feelings about it can even change your level of happiness in retirement years (1). With this in mind, here are the top 12 emotional signs you need to retire.
Signs You Need to Retire
#1: Your Work Stresses You Out
If you’re finding your job very stressful, and you’ve reached a point in your life where that stress is impacting your family or life satisfaction, it may be time to retire. One study found that seniors who experienced high levels of work stress were happier after they retired (2). The seniors in the study reported that the work stressors caused family stress as well, and so the whole family benefited from retirement.
Stress can have pronounced mental and physical health consequences for seniors. Stress can cause frequent headaches, trouble sleeping, fatigue, chest pain, stomach pain and more. Chronic stress can also make conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease worse (3). For older adults, this stress can pose a serious health issue.
#2: You No Longer Enjoy Your Job
Happiness is a very important health indicator for seniors. Life is too short to spend your later years in a job you no longer enjoy. If you used to feel excited and passionate about your job, and you have found that enjoyment decreasing, you might think about retiring. Many seniors nearing retirement age notice they are experiencing burnout in their jobs. Feeling constantly drained and overwhelmed at work is a sign of burnout. You might feel like what you’re doing is unsustainable, or you like you don’t know how you can keep this up. If you’re just not enjoying your work anymore, day after day and month after month, listen to that feeling and make a change.
#3: You Feel Unfulfilled in Life
Feeling “fulfilled” can be a difficult thing to attain or define. But most of us hope that by the time we reach our later years, we will have fulfilled most of our hopes and dreams and be satisfied with our lives. However, for some people, that feeling is elusive. Your work could potentially be holding you back from the things that make you feel satisfied and fulfilled. Retirement gives you one of life’s greatest commodities: time. When you stop working, you’ll have the chance to explore hobbies, enjoy family and friends, and just breathe and relax. If you’re feeling unfilled in life, it might be time to consider retirement.
#4: You Want to Pursue Something New
For many seniors, work is something you do to pay the bills. It isn’t always a passion project or dream job. Are you feeling a yearning to do something different? If there was something you always wanted to do and never had the time to do it, maybe now is the time! Perhaps you didn’t pursue your dream job because it was inconvenient or not financially lucrative. Retiring from your current job can give you the chance to do what you want to do. You don’t have to give up working entirely–maybe it’s just time for something new.
#5: You Feel Like Life is Passing You By
Do you spend so much time at work that you feel like life is going on without you? Maybe you’re feeling as though working is keeping you from really living. This is one emotional sign that it might be time to retire. Some jobs simply take so much of your time, energy, and effort that you feel like you have nothing left at the end of the day. While that might be okay for ten, twenty, or thirty years, at some point it starts to take a toll. Don’t wait too long to remember to live your life!
#6: You Are Depressed, Sad, or Anxious
One of the most obvious emotional signs that it’s time to retire is simply how you feel on a day-to-day basis. If you are constantly depressed, sad, or anxious, it is time for a change. While retirement won’t solve mental health problems, for many people it can help (4). Giving yourself the time and space to address and resolve these issues could be the difference between recovery and continuing to live in misery. If you aren’t financially able to retire quite yet but are suffering from depression or anxiety, you could consider switching careers or moving to part-time work. Whatever you choose, you deserve to be happy. Do what is necessary to make the changes you need for your own happiness.
#7 You Feel Financially Secure and Satisfied with Your Work
While feeling unfilled by life can be a sign it’s time to retire, feeling satisfied with life can also be one of the emotional signs you need to retire! If you feel like you’ve completed what you set out to do with your work, that is one indication it may be time to let it go. When you are financially secure enough that you no longer need the income, and feel that you have done all you need to do at your job, retiring might be the right choice. You can then pursue other interests that may have taken a backseat while you were working.
#8 You’re Daydreaming About Retirement
Working for the weekend? While it’s sometimes necessary to work a job you dislike for the income, if retirement is an option, it may be time to consider it. If you find yourself spending a lot of time daydreaming about what retirement would be like, or what you’ll do once you are retired, or your travel plans…it’s time to stop dreaming and go live it! Every job is monotonous at times, but retirement doesn’t have to be.
#9 Thinking About Retirement Feels Like Relief
When you think about retirement, do you feel a sense of relief? Would quitting your job feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders? If so, that’s a good sign you’re emotionally ready to move on.
#10 You’re Just Tired
Life as an adult is exhausting. Perhaps you’ve reached a point of exhaustion that seems unsustainable. If you’re just feeling tired all the time, consider retiring. You deserve a chance to rest and enjoy the life you have created.
#11 Your Family Wants You to Retire
While your retirement must ultimately be your decision, if your family is asking you to stop working, that might be something to explore. Your loved ones usually have your best interests at heart. Sometimes, we can become blinded by ambition or just so entrenched in our routines that it’s hard to consider other options. Allow your family and friends to weigh in on what they think, and consider their responses.
#12 You’re Lonely and Ready for New Friendships
Believe it or not, retirement might actually give you the chance to make new friends and start new relationships. If your job doesn’t give you the social interaction you crave, retirement might be your answer! Many retirees enjoy senior living communities where they can spend time with peers, form friendships, and enjoy lots of social activities.
Choosing when to retire is a big decision. Timing is an important factor, because retiring too early or too late can make life less enjoyable and the transition more difficult. Stellar Living hopes these 12 emotional signs you’re ready to retire make this tough choice a little easier.