If you feel like it might be time for you to retire, but you’re not sure, don’t worry—it’s normal to have a lot of competing emotions when considering such a huge life change.
After all, your career has been with you for decades.
Retirement is a big decision — one that requires careful planning, especially if you’re planning on retiring early.
But how do you know when it’s time to retire?
As with any major life event, emotional signs can indicate when it’s time for an exit strategy from the office.
13 Emotional Signs You Need to Retire
Sometimes the signs you are ready to retire aren’t as clear as you might hope.
Many of the indicators may not be obvious because they don’t seem related to retirement.
But if you notice any of these thoughts and feelings, perhaps you’re psyche is sending you a message to say goodbye to the 9 to 5.
1. You feel much less stressed at home than at work.
When we’re relaxing at home and not feeling stressed or overwhelmed by our jobs, it’s time to pay attention. All jobs have some stress, but you shouldn’t feel excessive resistance to going to work every day.
Do you feel more relaxed, less stressed, more productive, and more efficient than ever before at home? Does it seem your job is consuming your whole life? If so, it might be time to consider making a big change in your life.
2. You believe your best years are behind you, not ahead of you?
If you find that you are no longer as enthusiastic about your job as you used to be, it can signify that it’s time to retire.
You may feel like there is nothing more to learn on the job and that you haven’t been as productive in recent years.
These feelings could signal that it’s time for retirement as they have started creeping into your mind more often. They are screaming at you that it’s time to make some changes.
In this case, retiring before things get worse is better than staying at work longer and ruining what has been an enjoyable career.
3. You experience more agitation and restlessness.
Are you restless and unsettled in a job you once loved and found exciting?
Restlessness could suggest you are bored or unhappy with your job. Although finding another job is an option, consider the possibility that retiring is a better choice.
Ask yourself if another job would enliven you or feel equally burdensome. Perhaps you’re just done with the work thing and ready to explore the things you’ve always wanted to do.
4. You complain about the same things repeatedly.
It might be time to move on if you complain about the same things repeatedly. It’s clear you’re not happy with aspects of your job.
- You can’t change the past, so don’t dwell on it.
- You can’t make other people do what they don’t want to do (even if they just need some gentle nudging).
- You can’t control the weather or your age—so why not let those things go?
- Your boss isn’t going anywhere—you are!
Others notice that you sound like a broken record, so maybe you should also pay attention and take action.
5. You are increasingly unproductive and distracted.
If you’re spending more time on social media or reading the news, you might not be fully engaged with what’s happening around you. This behavior can translate into a lack of productivity and progress toward your goals.
Maybe you’ve even stopped caring about your work goals and don’t have the mental energy to pursue them as you once did. Hmm. It sounds like your psyche is trying to tell you something.
6. You look forward to the weekend more than you did when you were younger.
Weekends meant parties and fun when you were young, but the younger you happily pushed hard Monday through Friday and had energy to spare.
Now that you’re older, weekends can’t come soon enough so you can relax and enjoy time away from work.
If you find that you look forward to Fridays because you’re eager to get away from work, perhaps it’s time to stop clocking in and start checking out.
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7. It often feels like you’re dragging yourself through the day.
Your work has become a drag, and you don’t feel like you have the energy to do the things you used to enjoy.
Instead, it seems like you are just going through the motions and waiting for the day to end. You’re just marking time before you can leave for good.
If it feels like you’re dragging yourself through the day, then the chances are that retirement may be on your mind more than ever before—and for a good reason!
8. Your work schedule no longer syncs with your personal schedule.
Work-life balance is an essential topic for anyone, but it’s vital for those getting close to retirement.
Maybe you’re used to having time off on the weekends and holidays but now have to work during those times. If so, there’s a good chance that your personal schedule doesn’t sync with your work schedule anymore.
It can be frustrating and exhausting if you’re trying to maintain relationships with family and friends who feel like a bigger priority now.
If this has happened in your life recently, consider how much longer it will be before retirement becomes an option.
9. You know it’s time to leave, but don’t feel like you can afford to right now.
Review your financial situation and discuss your options with your spouse or partner. If you don’t have any money set aside for retirement, you should find a financial advisor and make a financial plan that allows you to retire sooner rather than later.
Start putting money into your retirement account as soon as possible, even if it’s just $10 or $20 per paycheck. It may not seem like much at first, but over time the money will add up and help you reach your goals.
10. You take it personally when someone criticizes your work.
When someone on the job criticizes something you’ve done or says something negative about your work, you react more emotionally than usual.
Criticism goes with the territory, and you once handled it calmly, but now it’s getting to you.
Perhaps it’s because someone a decade younger than you is patronizing or a know-it-all. Or maybe the criticism is deserved, but you’re just exhausted by it all.
If your work is suffering because you’ve stopped caring as much, then retiring before it significantly impacts your performance is a good idea.
11. You don’t want to learn any new job skills or technologies.
You’ve lost the desire to improve your skill set or learn new technology as they don’t seem relevant to what you want to do in retirement.
The longer you remain at a job, the less likely you are to want to learn something new. You’ve seen it all and been there before.
You long to travel, take up some hobbies, and spend more time with your family. Your priorities have changed.
12. It takes everything to get yourself out of bed on Monday mornings.
You don’t want to go to work. You feel tired and lethargic, and the thought of getting out of bed on Monday mornings makes you want to throw up. It feels like your job is sucking all the energy out of your life.
And while it may be true that some aspects of your job are draining—perhaps you’re working long hours or dealing with unreasonable friends—it’s important not to blame everything on your job or employer.
It could be that you’re just tired of the grind and ready to move on.
13. You feel irrelevant because most people in your company are younger than you.
You’ve been around long enough to know that age doesn’t matter when it comes to being a valuable team member; however, working with younger people can be challenging.
It seems every new person that joins is younger than the last one that left, making you feel uncomfortable about your age difference with them.
You may have plenty to contribute and years of experience under your belt, but you’ve begun to feel like a stranger in a strange land. You just don’t approach things the way your younger co-workers do.
Once you decide to retire, you’ll have plenty to do to prepare. Talk to your doctor and financial advisor to ensure your health and finances are in order.
Determine how you want to spend your retirement years and what you’ll do with your time, so your mental health doesn’t suffer. Even in retirement, your life can be full, happy, meaningful, and fun. In fact, it may be the best time of your life.