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Retire While You’re Still on Top

Retire While You’re Still on Top
So many people at my job are retiring. One friend told me her last day is today and I just found out yesterday. She doesn’t want any parties or fanfare. She just wants to walk silently into the night knowing that she’s “done her time” and it’s time to move on to the next phase of life. She looked prepared, peaceful, and calm. She isn’t one of the new “retirees” that leaves a job on Friday and starts a new one on Monday. She wants to relish in the fact that she is at the end of her career and has financially planned her exit accordingly. Sadly, some people don’t get that luxury. With rising costs, having children and buying houses later in life, the overuse of credit cards, and the fact that people are living longer, most people do not think about retiring earlier than 62. I see so many people stressed out about making ends meet that the thought of enjoying life after retiring seems so out of reach. Many aren’t enjoying life now!

So many businesses have their employees by the neck understanding that they have the upper hand with the longevity of their stay. They know most people are too in debt to retire and we can see those disgruntled employees every day. It doesn’t just happen with government workers or the private sector. We can see it with professional athletes as well.

We see ball players with everything taped up but their heads still trying to run with the young boys. Know your limits (body, mind, and spirit) and leave the game while you can remember your best days. I watched my mom leave the job she loved because someone decided she was not valuable enough to teach high school PE anymore. They wanted to move her to middle school, which in her mind was a demotion. She helped train the new PE teacher who was young, white, and male. My mom was not going to take that lying down. She pushed barriers all her life and was not going to “go out like a sucker.” She felt that once a person hit 50 the world started to view them differently. She felt just as sharp as a 30 year old but that was not what the world saw.

She could have agreed to play along and still teach the kids at the younger level but that is not what she wanted. She knew where she belonged. She knew what made her happy. She and my dad planned, prepared, and sacrificed so that no one could dictate when she should “throw in the towel.” Are you that prepared? Can you retire at the top of your game right now if someone offered you the opportunity to do so? Maybe you’re not at retirement age and have younger children like I do but if you fast forward 10 years, how close are you to retiring comfortably and not starting a new job on Monday?

Don’t let anyone push you around and determine your worth. My mom knew her worth and played the game by her rules- no one else’s. We get caught in these work systems that are not like the systems of old. There are few pension jobs. People don’t stay at the same job long enough to get a pension if one was offered. We have lost the understanding of how to save (that’s if we CAN save).

I found an article titled “5 Ways to Know If You’re on Track to Retire Early” that can help you look at your retirement plan. Know your financial facts so that you can make an informed decision about when to retire. We can’t wait until we are 50 or older to change our spending habits, begin reducing debt, or creating a financial plan. We have to do what we have to do now so that we can do what we want to do later.

I loved the fact that my mom was fortunate enough to call the shots with her retirement. She got to go out on top and not let the financial chains of bondage keep her attached to a job that no longer valued all she had to offer. Can you say the same? Will you retire while still at the top of your game?

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