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Want to retire early—that is, before “normal” retirement age? The big challenge—a problem most of us are glad to have— is that we’re living longer. Retire in your mid-fifties and you could live 40 years or more in retirement.

For a longer retirement period, you’ll need a larger nest egg than if you retired later, yet you’ll have fewer years to build that nest egg. Early retirement means smaller monthly Social Security benefits. The same applies to traditional pension plan benefit amounts.

"For a longer retirement period, you’ll need a larger nest egg than if you retired later." people tossing their clear wine glasses

If you retire early, you may need to replace corporate  benefits you lose, such as life insurance and, if you work part time or on your own during retirement, disability insurance. You also may need to come up with health insurance to cover the gap until you qualify for Medicare at your normal retirement age. Retiring before age 59-1/2 also can present a tax problem, since taking money out of your retirement plans may trigger a 10% tax penalty. And you could still have major expenses to fund, such as a mortgage and college.

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The challenges of early retirement are not just financial, however. What are you going to do all those years? Many financial planners find their retired clients returning to work, often part time, out of boredom. So although early retirement may sound appealing, be sure you’ve thought through the financial and non-financial issues before taking the plunge.


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Tags: Financial Planning, Lump Sum, Pension, Retirement Planning