When is the right time to retire? I have been thinking about this for a few years. Having recently turned 50 I find myself thinking about it even more.

I think the real question that needs to be asked is – what does retirement mean to me? I remember many years ago my father telling me that retirement is wanting to work, not having to work.

Notice the subtle difference there? Most of us think retirement means we stop working. However, it’s really just a point in life that says you have enough money to not have to work anymore but still desire to work.

It’s not as if one day you have a desire to work and the next day you don’t. You can now keep working on your terms and do more or less of it. Quitting cold turkey seems to be a recipe for disaster.

First of all, work brings purpose to your life. Not just monetarily. You can find personal satisfaction in having accomplished/contributed to some useful end goal. The sense of community in being with others and building relationships. Trying new things, and the list goes on.

While I have not crossed the line yet of having to vs wanting to, I am a lot closer than I was 20 years ago. I hope that as I cross that line that I have set myself up for success. Possibly volunteering more. Maybe finding a part-time job. Perhaps a job that allows me to golf once or twice a week.

As we get older we will be faced with the question of retirement. So take the time now to think and plan how you will make the transition, so you are not left scrambling when that day comes.