The 3 most important retirement questions

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This article originally featured as a guest post on Pounds and Sense.

1. Have you had enough?

It’s Sunday evening and you’re winding down after a busy weekend with friends and family. As you sit back in your favourite chair and think about the week ahead, you can’t quite get comfortable.

The thought of going back to work on Monday morning makes you feel a bit uneasy. In fact, the thought of doing it for another 5 – 10 years makes you feel sick!

If you’ve ever experienced this, you might be approaching the point where you’ve had enough (that’s a technical term).

The question you need to ask yourself is whether the pain of going to work outweighs the benefit. If you find yourself in this situation; where you’re emotionally, physically and mentally drained and no longer excited to perform at the highest level, it’s time to do something about it.

Having had enough doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily time to retire. It simply means that you need to change the status quo.

Maybe you’ve had enough of your current role, but you’ve got more to give in another capacity. Your years of wisdom could be very valuable in a different guise. Perhaps you’ve had enough of having a boss and are ready to go it alone. With the years of experience, it’s no surprise that over 50’s are the best entrepreneurs. Or maybe you’re happy to carry on but just want a little bit more flexibility around what you do and when you do it.

These are all useful options to explore, particularly if you haven’t got enough to hang your boots up yet. Sometimes, the benefit of working for “just one more year” can make a real difference to your financial situation.

2. Do you have enough?

If you’ve had enough, and are ready to move onto pastures new, the next question is do you have enough?

Whenever I ask this question, people start telling me how much they’ve got saved up. But they’ve got it all wrong. It’s like trying to build a house without the seeing the floor plans. You need to start with the end goal and work back from there.

Working out if you have enough requires knowing:

  • Your monthly number – this is how much a comfortable lifestyle is going to cost.
  • Your monthly income – this is how much income you’ll receive from the State Pension, final salary pensions, buy to let properties, etc.
  • The gap – this is the difference between the two, and where your savings come in. Broadly speaking, if you’ve got 20x the gap in savings, you should be fine. Any less and you might not be quite there yet.

For a bit more detail, I suggest checking out this post: “when can I afford to retire?

But, there’s more to retirement planning than just simply figuring out your “number.” Finding your purpose in retirement sounds wishy washy, but without a clear purpose you’re likely to be one of the 25% of retirees who return to work.

3. Will you have enough to do?

You need to ask yourself what you are going to do when you wake up on that Monday morning, free from the ties of work, and how are you going to fill your time.

If for the last 40 years you’ve been busy being busy – chances are you’re going to get pretty bored sitting around the house for 40 hours a week.  I’ve seen many successful individuals retire, only to get bored and return to work within five years. The newly-found free time that retirement provides can be overwhelming for some.

Retirement is about having enough money to sleep at night and enough purpose to get up in the morning. It’s not just about the numbers, it’s about how you’re going to spend your time. Purpose will drive you in retirement, money will fund you. Try not to get those two mixed up.

The bottom line is this… retirement is the biggest transition you’re ever going to make. It’s not the sort of thing you do regularly and not the sort of thing you want to get wrong. By asking yourself these three questions, you’ll improve your chances of achieving a successful retirement.


If you want a little bit more help with planning your retirement, feel free to drop us a line.

All the best,

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