What is retirement?

Just what is retirement? Retirement is one of life’s biggest pivot points. It’s the day you go from clocking in every morning to hanging your “Gone Fishin” sign and doing whatever you please. When the time comes to collect the gold watch, retirees face two major questions: what am I going to do with all this time? And can I afford it?

How are you going to spend your retirement?

When you close the book on your career, it’s time to pen your next chapter. The possibilities are limitless. Of course, there are the well-worn retirement tropes of time with grandkids, travel and golf. They’re among the first things we think of because what grandparent doesn’t want more grandkid time?  Likewise, what fisherman or golfer doesn’t dream of the freedom to enjoy their hobbies?

In retirement, we gain so much time. The 40 or more hours per week you spent on the job are yours again. For some people, filling that time is a breeze. Others struggle to transition. The most successful retirees find purpose, whether they volunteer or immerse themselves in activities.

On your Pride Mobility device, you can pursue your retirement dreams, whether they take you abroad or make life at home easier. Here are more options for how to fill your freshly-cleared calendar.

How do you fund retirement?

Nothing in life is free. Before you cash your last paycheck, it’s important you have savings and/or retirement benefits to fund your golden years. With increasing life expectancy, it’s common for people to live 20 or 30 more years after retirement. Here are some of the financial benefits you may be able to access.

Social Security

The vast majority of American workers pay into the Social Security system. At age 62, workers can collect early retirement, which is a reduced rate until they are at full retirement age. Full retirement age is 67 for anyone born after 1960. If you were born between 1943 and 1959, you can reference this Social Security Administration chart.

Social Security is based on your highest 35 years of earnings. The average retirement beneficiary takes home about 40% of their pre-retirement income from Social Security. For retirees over 67, a Social Security check is a start, but likely not significant enough for post-retirement jet-setting.

Defined Contribution Plan

Many who work in the private sector have a 401(k) retirement plan. This is a savings plan that includes your contribution as well as a match from your employer. There are similar defined contribution plans in other sectors. A 403(b) plan is for employees of  government and tax-exempt organizations like schools, churches and hospitals. State and municipal employees are offered a defined contribution plan called a 457 plan. Federal government employees, including the military, can enroll in a Thrift Savings Plan. All of these plans include contributions from the employee and the employer and can be accessed after a specified retirement age. Generally, the retirement age is 65 for these plans.

Other Financial Options

There are a wide range of other financial assets to help fund retirement. Investments, annuities and IRAs could be useful strategies depending on your situation.

Find Retirement Resources

Before you walk away from work, make sure you’re financially ready for retirement. Working with a financial planner or advisor is a good option. You can also access other resources, including through your employer’s 401(k) administrator.

There are helpful online tools like these retirement calculators from NerdWallet and Bankrate. AARP has a retirement resource center on its website that touches on everything from savings to social security. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which operates MyMoney.gov, also provides comprehensive information about retirement.

*please note this is not financial advice*

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