How will you know when to retire?

When we first begin working with new clients, but also as part of our regular updates with existing clients a question that comes up is relating to the timing of when they would like to retire.

This is so that we have a purpose and something to aim for in becoming ‘financially independent’ and capable of doing so at that point if they so wish.

But having worked with people for more than a decade in the lead up to retirement there is a difference between aiming for something, being potentially capable of doing it and then that becoming a reality.

For some (but hopefully not many of you), work will be a chore and so taking action will be pretty simple once the possibility is available. But for those who do not despise their work, or even enjoy it this can become a bit more complex.

I had this very situation a few years ago with someone who although could technically retire, were not quite actually ready to. We stayed in contact periodically and at a later date that changed and we have helped them transition happily into the world of retirement.

So how will you know? Well it would be easy for me to just say ‘you will know when you know’, but there are also some common things which crop up. Here are a list of the most common ones:

  • A lack of motivation and enthusiasm towards work – when the Monday morning grump extends to Tuesday and Wednesday or when that new project/strategy seems like a problem.
  • A feeling of drifting in work role – ‘ticking along’
  • A feeling of jealousy/envy towards peers/friends/family members who have retired
  • When there are actual things you would rather be doing with your time in reality and not just fictionally that you cannot fit into your current situation
  • When you have greater confidence that this is financially possible

So whilst it may be true that to an extent ‘you will know when you know’ there will be signs!


A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available.