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The When of Retirement

March 29, 2017

One of the most important decisions future retirees face is the “when” of retirement. When do you make the move from worker to retiree? There are many different answers to this question, depending on personal circumstances, and there even may be different stages to the answer. Some people decide to retire all at once, moving out of the workforce in a short period of time, while others may move out more gradually, to part-time work or consult.

Retirement can simply be defined as the act of retiring, but it’s important to understand that it is more than withdrawing from a long career. You now have the valuable opportunity to make time for yourself. Time to be creative and productive while focusing on your mental and physical health. Retirement is a new stage of life with an opportunity to make the most out of your time.

Retirement communities in Delaware and elsewhere in the country are intended to support this transition, no matter how long it lasts, as well as to support you in making the most out of this vital next stage of life. Over 55 communities in Delaware are not a one-stage stop, but platforms which can accommodate multiple modes of life, both working and retired, with many stages in between.

When to Retire

It is useful to keep in mind the different opportunities for staging retirement as you look ahead, especially when you consider the importance of working, to many of us. You especially want to balance the health benefits associated with work and the health benefits associated with retirement.

A recent study found evidence that working in retirement and retiring later, after 65, may help longevity. There are obvious financial benefits of retiring later, such as accumulating retirement accounts and social security benefits. This was true for people across different income and education levels, as well as lifestyle and health issues. Perhaps contrary to expectations, individuals whose poor health helped move them towards retirement also increased their longevity by working an extra year.

This study proposes that such retirement, as a major and stressful life change, can have a significant impact on the cognition and social life of retirees. When working, people are required to be cognitively, socially, and physically active, which may prevent decline. Work also comes with an obvious sense of identity and purpose.

But what if you do not want to work longer? What if you would much rather be doing other things with your life, which work prevents you from doing?

As one of this study’s co-author suggests, it may be active engagement that extends longevity, not work per se . So, do not mistake the working lifestyle as the best or sole option for ensuring your life force. What is most important is pursuing and maintaining ongoing mental, physical, and social engagement.

Maximizing the benefits of retirement means to continue improving all dimensions of your life, in ways that are meaningful to you. Keep in mind that 55 and over communities in Delaware are designed to help you do just that.


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