Should you retire early or later? Why early is better

Senior Correspondent Mike Causey is on vacation. While he’s away, he’s invited guest columnists to fill in. 

While on vacation, I’ve asked some readers to fill the void by doing guest columns. I love them because they are all different, with special insights from long-time feds (some working, some retired) who have been there, done that and truly gotten the T-shirt. Hope you enjoy this first offering:

Most people approaching retirement age probably dream occasionally about retiring early. But many assume they can’t, or shouldn’t. Don’t be one of those. Treat the possibility seriously because it might give you a happier future.

Retirement will let you go after your bucket list. You can do things you’ve wanted to do while you can still do them. You would be surprised how busy you will be in retirement. In fact, many of my friends wonder how they had time to go to work before they retired.

Here are some reasons to retire as early as you can:

  • Lose the commute. Save the wear-and-tear on yourself and your SUV. Lose the on-the-job politics. Lose the long hours, sleep in longer.
  • Travel the world. Visit those places you have been itching to see.
  • Spend more time with your children, grandchildren and friends.
  • Expand your knowledge, take classes at a local college.
  • If you cook, take cooking lessons.
  • If you are interested in sports, volunteer to coach a little league team. Or be an umpire or referee.
  • Sit back and read good books.
  • Go online and stream all the entertainment available.
  • You can take on new projects and hobbies.
  • Your career of public service can continue by becoming a volunteer. Help those in your community that need help. Help those that are less fortunate. As an example, I joined the Rotary Club. You could also help out at a local food bank, the USO, veterans hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
  • Become a mentor. Work with groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Police Athletic League, etc.
  • Libraries are not just buildings with books. Investigate all the programs available.
  • Get a new job or embark on a new adventure. For instance, if you are interested in sales, become a real estate agent.
  • If you have been itching to get into politics, you can do it. I do not recommend it, but go for it, if you wish.
  • If you want to get into political lobbying, join NARFE and help it to protect your hard-earned benefits.
  • Help protect your neighborhood by starting or joining your neighborhood watch.

Doing what you want to do is only half the equation. The other half is determining if you can afford it. I suggest you consult a financial advisor, or use readily available software to estimate your retirement income and expenses. For those with 40+ quarters of work outside the government, you can begin take your Social Security benefits at age 62. Click here to compute what you will get from Social Security after the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

Best of all, retiring early generally means you will probably be healthier and more able to do and enjoy what you’d like to do if you waited until you were older.

My advice? Do it.

—Marc Harris
Orlando, Florida

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Jory Heckman

Kingda Ka, the tallest rollercoaster in the world, located in Jackson, New Jersey, is taller than the Statue of Liberty, at 456 feet.

Source: Wikipedia