independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Seven signs it's not time to retire

WORKING out when to retire is no easy task.

For some, there is little choice as their employer puts them out to grass when they hit 65. For others, the decision to retire is more complicated.

This is especially the case if they have not made good enough provision for post-work income.

Determining the right time to retire is not an easy task, according to Bob Quinn of financial planning firm MoneyAdviser.ie.

"There is more than one decision to be taken, in fact, and you should take good advice about the many issues that retirement brings up," Mr Quinn said.

"For example, if you have a rental property, is it better to keep or sell it? Have you taken advantage of tax relief on your pension?

"Have you thought about how you'll live on your pension, which is likely to be considerably less than your salary?"

Instead of hoping for divine intervention, Mr Quinn has put together seven signs that may convince you that now is not the right time to retire.

You are too young

Just because you have reached 60 (if you work in the public sector) or 66 (for those in private industry), it doesn't mean you should automatically clear out your desk and graciously accept your carriage clock.

Retiring at retirement age may cost you dearly.

The numbers are pretty compelling to work an extra few years – we are living longer and many retirement funds are still reeling from the market crash in 2008.

If you are fortunate enough to have a job you enjoy and can still contribute, then it may make sense to clock in for another while.

Remember, retiring early means your pension fund must last longer, assuming you will live to enjoy your twilight years.

And if you are purchasing a guaranteed pension (annuity), the younger you are, the more expensive it becomes.

Kicking retirement down the road by even two more years can make a big difference. Who needs a clock anyway – you tell the time using your phone these days.

You have financial

obligations

You may have children in school or college, four years left on the mortgage and a credit card bill.

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your financial obligations on a full wage, what will it be like on a pension?

If the car is rattling and the roof of the house needs repairing, don't hand back the work ID card just yet.

Counting on

stock market returns

If your pension fund isn't quite large enough to sustain you through retirement, don't expect stock market returns to make up the difference.

The markets are very inconsistent and if you choose the safest option and go with a low-risk fund, the returns are generally lousy.

You may need to give the markets (and your fund) a few more years to recover than originally anticipated.

Those most successful in retirement are the ones who have made contributions to their retirement pot on a regular basis.

You want to be retiring debt-free and with few costs other than day-to-day living expenses.

You live to work

The boss might be an ass, but if you are retiring for the sake of it, remember that even the dull conversation around the water cooler might be more attractive than going for long, aimless drives or going to every funeral in the local church because it's something to do.

We tend to have a rose-tinted view of retirement and you may even be fully prepared financially, but unless you have plans – a hobby, a project, voluntary or part-time work – you could run the risk of the trip to the local shop for the paper becoming the highlight of your day.

You need to have a meaningful idea of what you intend doing with all this free time.

Spouse will have to get to know

you again

Your partner should be in agreement with your decision to retire as you both need to prepare for the transition.

If your spouse tells you not to retire just yet, it may not be that they don't want you around the house, but there may be an underlying financial concern (it could also be that they don't want you around the house).

If that concern isn't identified, it may lead to further stress.

Marriage counsellors tell us that the first year of retirement can be the most difficult.

You need to get used to spending a lot of time together if your partner is retired or doesn't work.

It'll take adjustment until you get into the groove, find your feet and get used to your new circumstances.

Your plans to work part-time don't pan out

Many younger retirees opt for retirement in the hope that they can pick up a little stress-free, part-time job in their locality.

The reality is that with high unemployment (almost 15pc in 2012), you just can't bank on getting a part-time job.

Rainy-day

fund is gone

We live in expensive times. When you take into account the septic tank charge, household charge and levies, and the fact that a contributory pension no longer guarantees a comfortable income in retirement, your rainy-day fund becomes more important than ever.

What happens if you suffer an unexpected expense in retirement?

A medical emergency? Damage to your home due to freak weather?

Suddenly the dream cruise around Africa you blew your savings on looks like a poor choice.

If you don't have a healthy savings fund, it might just be advisable to renew your commuter ticket for another few years while you get that fund in place, Mr Quinn pointed out.

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