Trick Question: When is the Best Time to Retire From a Financial Standpoint?

time

This is one of my favorite questions to ask clients and guests at the many seminars we host throughout the year. And because we’re privileged to work with such outstanding folks at Keen Wealth, I get a lot of very smart answers, such as:

“59 ½, because I won’t be penalized for making withdrawals from my retirement accounts.”

That’s true.

“62, because I can start taking Social Security.”

Also true.

“You need quality health care, so you should wait until you’re eligible for Medicare at 65.”

Yep, yet another reasonable answer.

“I’m waiting until age 70 so I can maximize my Social Security benefits.”

Another good point! And all valid reasons for considering the best time to retire.

But what the folks I’m talking to don’t realize is … I’m asking them a trick question!

The best time for you to retire from a purely financial standpoint is … never! If money is all you’re concerned about, you can always deposit another year’s worth of paychecks, which in turn allows you to delay spending any of your retirement assets for living expenses. Even better, you can keep topping off your savings, investment, and retirement accounts for yet another year as well.

But, as we have discussed many times in prior blogs and podcasts, maximizing our lives is not just about the numbers and always just being focused on more. While we can always keep working and make more money if we’re healthy, what we can’t do is add more time to our lives so that we can enjoy our hard-earned nest eggs to the fullest.  And that leads us to what many come to call the most priceless asset, which is our time.

It really does fly.

I recently wrote a blog post about the science behind how we perceive time. Many studies have concluded that as we age, time feels like it’s moving quicker than it did when we were younger. Adult responsibilities chip away at the “endless summer” feeling we enjoyed as kids. We also don’t have as many milestones to look forward to, like earning a driver’s license, graduating college, and getting married. Working and raising kids can blur our weeks into one long grind.

For those of us that are parents, we are able to mark time by how fast it seems that the kids grow up and become adults. I turned 50 this year, and I’ve definitely noticed that life seems to be zipping by a lot faster than it used to. Which, my team at Keen Wealth made sure I acknowledged, by signing me up to be a member of AARP!

The folks I talk to every day who are closer than I am to retirement tell me that time is only going to keep accelerating. And the less there is of something, the more we value it.

How much is more money really worth?

The most successful retirees I know arrive at this realization before they hit a “traditional” retirement age like 65. They start to become very intentional and thoughtful about how they spend their time. And they start to wonder if the money they’ll earn working another year is worth the time they’ll spend earning it.

Ask yourself, what is foregoing another year of travelling with your spouse in retirement worth? Another year of time with your grandchildren? Another year of letting life take you to totally unexpected new places?

Remember, your retirement isn’t something you arrive at when you turn a certain age, or, when your nest egg hits a certain number. Retirement is an “ART,” a delicate and personal balance between Activities you love, the Relationships that are most important to you, and the Time you have to devote to them.

Folks who really take this ART concept to heart tend to have an easier time transitioning into retirement. Those who struggle with it are usually the ones who can’t stop worrying about having “enough money.” I’ve worked with folks who  just couldn’t flip the switch from “save” to “reward” despite having sizeable nest eggs to rely on. They’d tell me they’d start enjoying themselves “someday.”

I’m sad to say, “someday” never came for a few of those folks, as unfortunately, their time ran out well before their nest eggs.

Let us help.

The financial planning process that we use at Keen Wealth is designed to help our clients appreciate that retirement is not just about money. It’s about how you want to live your life.

Once you do retire, we can help you maximize your time by taking some of the “work” out of being retired. Your financial picture changes dramatically once you retire. Taxes, Social Security, Medicare, withdrawal and spending levels, investment management, legacy planning – if you’re trying to handle all these complex matters solo, you might be trading your old full-time job for a new one! And if you’re trying to manage your retirement without professional expertise, one wrong move could put a serious dent in your nest egg.

My Keen Wealth team appreciates that time is your most valuable asset. We can help you spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your retirement.

Bill Keen: The folks I talk to every day who are closer than I am to retirement tell me that time is only going to keep accelerating. And the less there is of something, the more we value it.

About Bill

Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.

Keen Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Adviser. Nothing within this commentary constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Keen Wealth Advisors manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed here. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  

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