Early retirement is a dream shared by millions of Americans. But although the goal is the same, the reasons for wanting to leave work at a younger age vary from worker to worker.
Recently, Northwestern Mutual interviewed more than 2,300 adults in its 2021 Planning and Progress Study. About 11% of these respondents said they now plan to retire earlier than they had planned before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
Among those who plan to retire early, nearly half — 48% — advance their schedule by three to five years. The two youngest generations of adults now expect to retire before age 60, on average: Generation Z at 59.4 and Millennials at 59.5.
Here are the most common reasons among all age groups for planning to leave the workforce early.
4. The working situation has changed
People transitioning to the target retirement age for this reason: 28%
Sometimes, we choose to retire early. But in other cases, the end of our career is chosen.
This may be true for the 28% of survey respondents who said they are moving into their retirement date because they were laid off or experienced another change in their work situation.
If you no longer love your job but want to keep working, check out “20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees”.
3. Realize that personal mission is more important than saving
People transitioning to the target retirement age for this reason: 29%
Money is important. We need it to feed and clothe ourselves, and to put a roof over our heads.
But few of us would assert that money is the most important thing in life. Among survey respondents, 29% said they would retire early because they have a personal task that takes higher priority than adding more nickels and dimes to their eggs.
2. Focus on hobbies/priorities outside of work
People transitioning to the target retirement age for this reason: 33%
Work provides a sense of purpose and even pleasure to millions of people. But for millions of others, it’s just a handicap.
This may be why 33% of survey respondents want to retire early so they can focus on rewarding hobbies and other tasks without weighing them down with their nine-to-five work commitments.
Curious to know how retirees will use this extra time? Read “Top 5 Activities People Dream of Doing in Retirement.”
1. Desire to spend more time with loved ones
People transitioning to the target retirement age for this reason: 42%
Our time on this earth is relatively short. The window of opportunity to spend with your loved ones is shorter.
As the old cliché goes, no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent a few more hours in the office.” Spending time with loved ones is the main reason people want to retire early, with 42% of survey respondents saying this is their motivation.
Learn how you can retire early
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