While there is no specific age associated with early retirement, 55 is generally considered early retirement age in the UK. This is because you can begin withdrawing workplace and private pensions at this age. But, is early retirement the best option for you?
For some, opting to retire early is the best decision they ever made. They have the time to travel, spend time with family, and enjoy their lives. That said, early retirement is also a big financial commitment that requires a significant amount of assets.
For others, changing careers later in life may be a better option. It gives them a new lease on life and the opportunity to learn, grow, and experience a new industry. And of course, it offers some financial stability.
Are you torn between retiring early or starting a second career? We’re here to help. We break down the pros and cons of early retirement and changing careers to help you decide.
Early Retirement Or Career Change: Which Is Right For You?
To retire early or not to retire early? That is the question. Let’s look at the WHYs and WHY NOTs for both.
There are plenty of reasons why you may want to retire early. From spending time with loved ones to travelling, it’s a tempting option.
- Health benefits: You can rest more, reduce stress, and take better care of yourself
- Travel: Early retirement allows you to travel more while still in good health. Plus, travelling outside of peak holiday times is more cost-effective
- More free time: Time is priceless. Retiring early means you get more free time to dedicate to family, friends, or hobbies
- Volunteering: Volunteering is a rewarding experience that most of us don’t have time to do. Early retirement frees up time to dedicate to volunteering with organisations close to your heart
- Care for a loved one: Retiring early allows you to care for sick loved ones
There are also some reasons why you shouldn’t retire early:
- Financial implications: Retiring early means you are relying on your savings and other assets to live. This can be stressful and will require a strict budget
- Mental health issues: Early retirement can lead to several mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This can stem from feeling lonely or lacking purpose
- Boredom: Most of us dream of the day when we can retire and do nothing. But, when that day comes, you may find yourself bored and unfulfilled. This is especially common if your spouse or close network has yet to retire
- Unexpected costs: As you get older, you may experience unexpected financial obligations, which can strain your budget. For instance, house repairs or healthcare costs
It may be time for a career pivot if you’re ready for a change but don’t want to give up on an income. Here are some of the benefits of a career change.
- Financial security: Opting for a new career path will give you a source of income, meaning you don’t have to eat into your savings too soon
- Fulfilment: Taking on a new career allows you to develop new skills and have a sense of purpose. This can make you feel more fulfiled and content
- Social interaction: Work is a great source of social contact. In most roles, you spend your day communicating with colleagues or clients, keeping you mentally stimulated and preventing loneliness
- Self-esteem: Embarking on your dream career at any age is hugely rewarding. It builds your self-esteem and proves that you can achieve any goals you set for yourself. No matter your age.
- Follow your dreams: Do you have a passion project or dream you have always wanted to achieve but never had the time? Maybe to start your own business. A second career is a chance to do it.
And here are some reasons why there may be better choices than making a career change.
- Stress: Starting a new career can be stressful, especially if you need to retrain or refresh your skills for the role
- Your heart’s not in it: You may feel like you don’t have much left in the tank after years of working. That’s absolutely fine, and a sign that it’s not the right move for you
- It’s a lot of work: Some second careers require you to gain qualifications or years of experience, as an older worker, may not be worth the financial and time investment
Some workers consider early retirement because they have been laid off or face redundancy. This can, understandably, knock your confidence and make you feel like you have no other option. However, being made redundant as an older worker doesn’t have to spell the end of your career.
Our resource hub is packed with resources to empower older workers to change careers or re-enter the workforce. The first step is to decide if switching careers is right for you by recognising the common signs it’s time for a change. Once you have made the right decision for you, it’s time to take the plunge.
Our career change job board has a wide range of jobs for career changers of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. For instance, you can find everything from jobs for retired bankers to jobs for over 60s in London to low-stress jobs for retirees.
Choosing between early retirement and making a career change is not a decision to take lightly. Both come with their own set of pros and cons. However, many older workers consider early retirement because they don’t think they have other options. That’s not the case.
We believe it’s never too late to start a new career at Refreshing a Career. Our website offers a wealth of valuable aids, including career change guides, confidence tips, information on how to retrain, and much more.
For further advice, check out our resources on changing careers or browse our live job board for career change opportunities near you.