The federal government provides us with a "Full Retirement Age" - the age at which we qualify for "full" social security benefits. In most cases, this will be 65-67 depending on when you were born.
Your retirement plans shouldn't necessarily be controlled by this number (FRA). We'll call anything before FRA "early retirement".
First, what are some of the most common reasons folks choose to retire early (not necessarily in any particular order)?
Folks get burned out! Let's face it, 30 or 40 years of working in any job can get tiresome.
Sometimes health status dictates that we retire sooner rather than later.
Financial "readiness" might be the ticket to early retirement, why not do it if the money is there to fund it?
Here are some tools that can be useful when putting together an early retirement plan...
Age 59 1/2 is a magic number because tax deferred retirement funds can be withdrawn with no
penalty. (It's possible to beat the penalty before 59 1/2 but more complicated.)
A guaranteed and vested pension can be the ticket out before your FRA. Many teachers, police officers, and other civil servants can retire long before their FRA due to generous retirement benefits.
Adequate personal savings (401K, IRA, Bank Accounts, Investments etc).
A detailed plan (budget) can provide peace of mind that early retirement is financially sustainable.
State or Federal subsidized health care can make early retirement (before medicare kicks in at age 65) financially possible. (Not everyone qualifies).
Early retirement is not for everyone, but for those who are interested in exiting the workforce before their FRA, it is certainly possible with some planning. Most people should start working on it at least 5 years before their target retirement date in order to allow time to make the appropriate adjustments to their finances etc before the target date.
Be assertive and gather information from financial advisors, tax professionals and insurance agents. Talk to family and friends who have retired and ask about any insights they might have to share.
Todd's Tax Service LLC
Work until you drop. NOT.