Ready and Willing: How to determine if you’re ready to retire

Determining if you’re ready to retire can be a big decision financially and making that assumption you’ll be secure enough to go without a steady income working and yet manage your money properly.

All of those moving parts creates a situation of self reflecting and questioning your current financial state, and if you’ve done all the right things, both little and big, to ensure that retirement is more than just something you wish and hope for but also can be made a reality.

Take for instance your budgeting and financial planning acumen from one month to the next. If you’ve consciously worked hard to manage debt and keep it down (and within means to have it all paid off before you retire) then you’ll well on your way to a quiet, much less worrisome retirement.

Debt is a financial burden you don’t really want to take into retirement unless you have a few dollars left on your home or a car that is a few months away from being paid off for good (and then kept, rather than buying a new one).

Budgeting isn’t just about making a little bit of a profit and living within your means, although that’s part of it, but also about your retirement planning and 401K, IRA or any other means you have of making money on a pretax basis work for you.

Having a plan financially could mean talking to an advisor or setting goals of knowing how much you’ll need to retire.

One element of retirement that could change your trajectory is having to make a financial investment, good or bad, that has taken a serious chunk of change out of your retirement pocket.

Take for instance if you’re paying for your son or daughter’s (or multiple kids in college) education. That is a huge financial burden as you eye retirement so doing that could have repercussions on if and when you can actually stop working. You also have to take into consideration financial chunks of change you’ve put forth for major repairs to your home or car, things that you had to dip into your retirement fund to take care of and borrow against your future retirement. While that decision undoubtedly was made as a last resort, you can’t ignore the fact that you can certainly pay it back but at what price as far as retirement goes?

Retirement should be an excitement, rewarding process, one that allows you to feel pride in a job well done for years and the chance to enjoy those “Golden Years” without having them tarnished due to poor financial planning and the decision to retire when you’re not really ready.