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I frequently come across teachers, administrators, and principals who are getting ready to retire. After 20+ years of service in education, it is often difficult to make the decision or transition to retire. I would like to try and help make this process a little easier for you. First, it is critical to acknowledge the two different driving forces in making the decision to retire.

Emotional Decision – An emotional decision needs to be made. The two most common questions we see individuals asking themselves are: 1) Can I bring myself to stop doing what I know and love for so many years? 2) What will I do with my time if I retire? The reality, when you decide to retire these questions may not completely be answered until after you take the journey. This will most likely require a leap of faith on your part.

Financial Decision – A determination of when to retire also involves a financial component. Unlike the emotional decision, the financial decision can be better calculated. There are five critical elements we recommend investigating before a decision can be made.

1) Time Frame – Does it financially make sense to retire now or in a few years?
2) Cash Flow Analysis – Should I or do I need to supplement my income after I retire with something else such as tutoring?

3) Cost Benefit Analysis – How will healthcare costs, social security, pension, and my retirement accounts (401k, 403b, IRA) affect my financial status once I retire?

4) Lifestyle Requirements – What kind of lifestyle do I want when I retire? The same as now, better, much better, etc.

5) Goals – What are your financial goals for when you retire?

The positive thing to remember, usually several options are available for you to consider. This can also be the greatest challenge you face as well. Options can cause paralysis by analysis. Whatever decision you make, stay positive about changes in your life. These changes usually lead to new experiences and personal growth opportunities.