Are you counting the days, or weeks, or years, till you can retire and quit your fast-paced life and relax on your back porch? Warren Buffett thinks you should stop counting. At a sprightly 85, the Oracle of Omaha has no plans to retire and he doesn't think anyone else should either.
1. The longer you work, the more you'll earn.
If you're a billionaire and have all the money you could ever need, then this doesn't apply to you. For everyone else, working beyond the age when you can afford to retire means having more funds, both to enjoy life, and to serve as a cushion in case of a financial upheaval such as occurred in 2008. On the other hand, the moment you retire, you're limited to drawing on your savings and/or income generated by your investments for the rest of your life. With Americans living longer and healthcare costs heading for the stratosphere, that can put a serious crimp on your lifestyle.
2. You love your job--or you should.
Ask yourself if you really want to stop working or merely think you should when you reach a certain age. Buffett, for instance, loves his work so much he says he's "tap-dancing to work every day." If you feel that way about your own work, why would you want to stop?
If you don't love your job, then you do indeed need to make a change. But are you sure that change should be retirement? Perhaps it should be retirement from one job and a look at a second career, or perhaps starting your own company.
3. You worked hard for many years to develop the skills you have.
Retire, and you're putting all that expertise on the shelf. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, employers increasingly recognize the greater knowledge and experience older employees bring--and as Baby Boomers retire, they're concerned about losing access to that knowledge.
If you're approaching retirement age, that dynamic may mean you can negotiate a work schedule or contract arrangement that suits you. In today's economy you have many alternatives to the so-called "square wave" where people go from not working to working full-time, and then stop working just as abruptly when they retire. Renegotiate your hours or time off, quit to become a consultant so you can work only when you want to, or even become a volunteer. Whichever you choose, you'll have a more interesting time, and you'll remain more engaged than if you spend your time watching the world from your back porch.