In these competitive times with higher cost of living, longevity of life, family commitments and emergency expenses that may crop up postretirement, it is difficult to contemplate the possibility of opting for an early retirement. However, many professionals, workers and entrepreneurs do take up voluntary early retirement based on a set of personal or financial factors. The benefits of voluntary early retirement can be many.
Americans have always considered themselves adventurous and hardy travelers. Even if you have taken a road trip across America during your younger days on its fabled highway interstate system, there are still many historic towns, cities and landscapes that you can discover and rediscover. Plan several short trips every year and enjoy the sights and sounds in a more leisurely manner. Look out for deals offered by many travel agencies and tour operators to foreign destinations.
There cannot be a better time to enjoy the full pleasures and joys of family life than a long and extended retirement period. Make the most of the extra time to converse and spend time with your spouse and get involved in the activities of children or grandchildren. You could also plan that long-postponed visit to your parents living in another state or even invite them over for an extended stay at your home. Schedule time for occasional full family outings, trips and picnics.
Due to the rigors and pressures of modern life, civic and social service-oriented Americans don’t get enough time to be involved in community work and other programs. An early retirement with more time on hand offers the best possible opportunities to get back to serving the community. Help social service organizations and NGOs to manage websites and other marketing communication activities. Local police stations and fire departments always look for volunteers with some specialized expertise and skills. Get involved with more humanitarian and social development activities of your local church.
The Internet and online education options have furthered the cause of lifelong learning. If you did not get the chance to pursue some courses and electives related to your passion during your college or postgraduation years, a retirement period is the best time to do so. Almost all universities and colleges offer a vast array of online courses. If you wish to get to know more people and have an extended social network, enroll in local community colleges or noncredit evening classes offered in neighborhood universities. Organizations such as AARP offer a variety of combination travel/education opportunities.
It can be difficult to maintain a regular fitness routine while a busy career is taking up most of your time. More time on hand after an early retirement affords a chance to enroll into a neighborhood gym or dance class and get motivated to get into shape again. Also, make it a point to sit down with your financial advisor to manage your finances, early retirement bonus and related financial benefits and ensure that your lifestyle and medical coverage/expenses are accounted for in later years of your life. Use the extra free time to enjoy the pleasures and entertainment options of the online world.
Based out of the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, Pallab Dutta has written on business, technology and management issues since 1994. He has freelanced for “The Wall Street Journal," “The Economic Times” and “The Times of India." Dutta holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Bombay University and a Diploma in modern information systems from IIT Bombay.