Is It Better to Retire or Resign?

You’ve spent your entire working years building towards this point: it’s time to retire and enjoy your time doing all of the things you have wanted to for years.

Did you know, though, that retiring isn’t the only option you have? When you get to an age where you’re starting to think about retiring and if it’s right for you, you can either retire or resign. In some cases one might be better than the other but how do you determine what’s right for you?

Resign or Retire

First, let’s look at the differences in these two terms and what they mean.

Resigning

If you choose to resign from your position, it’s a relatively simple process. For most companies, you need to write a resignation letter, sign it and hand it in to your boss.

Most people give anywhere between two weeks and a month’s notice. Sounds simple, right? Well the process itself is but there are a few things you should probably think about before deciding if this is right for you.

What is it about resigning that is attractive to you? If you choose this option, can you still pay all of your monthly bills and live a comfortable life?

When you choose to resign from your position you likely won’t be eligible for any health insurance or any other social benefits you might have had when you were working.

Resignation

If you think this might be the right path for you, it’s always a good idea to have a discussion with your financial advisor to make sure that despite any drawbacks (like losing health insurance) you will still come out ahead with resigning.

The important thing to remember is that resigning, even if you are eligible to retire, is exactly the same as quitting your job at any age. Thinking of it this way may help you easily determine if this is right for you.

Retiring

While retiring is, technically, quitting your job the process of getting there is a little different from just simply resigning from your position. Similar to resigning, you will likely have to write a letter with your intent to retire so that you can make things official. It is always good to give your organization some notice before you decide to retire, especially, if you have been there for a reasonable period of time.

The big difference between resigning and retiring is that retirement often comes with benefits and insurance. These benefits might have a specified period of time they’re good for, or there could be a company pension that entitles you to some form of health benefits forever.

Many people have saved up some money during their working years that they intend to use in their retirement years as their income. When you are retirement age, this money will become available for you to use as you need to.

Should You Resign or Retire?

While both of these options are technically quitting your job, there could be significant benefits that come with retiring as opposed to just resigning and that could determine which option you want to go with.

Most people, if they are of eligible age, choose to retire based on the benefits that it comes with. If you simply resign from your job, even if you are of retirement age, you may not be eligible for health insurance or the pension you’ve worked for during your career.

Retirement Planning

That being said, there could be benefits to you retiring based on your unique situation. For this reason, it is always recommended you speak with your personal financial advisor to make sure you are making the right choices for your unique situation.

What if You Choose to Retire?

If you choose to retire, based on what works best for you, it’s a whole process that you will need to start – potentially months – before you actually retire. You can’t just decide one day you are ready to retire that day, it takes planning to execute this.

There are a few things you will need to do to make sure you get the most out of your retirement.

Get Your Financial House in Order

Long before you decide to retire, you need to take some important financial decisions. Some of the questions you need answers to are:

  1. What is your retirement nest egg? We have seen people wanting to retire with absolutely no money saved. And then there are those good planners who manage to rack up a million dollars or more for their retirement. Life after retirement can be very different in these two scenarios.
  2. It is quite likely that your earnings are going to reduce post-retirement. Do you plan to downsize? Do you plan to sell your house? Maybe buy a smaller car?
  3. Do you plan to live in the same city and community after retirement? Do you plan to move countries? Some of the popular countries where Americans like to retire are Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines.
  4. While it might be a few decades away, it is a good time to also financially plan for things like home care costs, nursing home bills, and palliative care expenses. It is always good to be financially prudent and prepared rather than leaving family members to foot the bill.

Announce Your Retirement

You’ve made it! After years and years of hard work and good financial planning, you are ready to enjoy the fruits of your labour and head into your retirement years. There are a couple of things you will need to do in order to make your retirement official.

    • Announce or talk to your boss about your plans to retire
    • Write a letter, formalizing your intentions. This letter needs to be sent to your boss and a copy does need to go to Human Resources.

Some people want to make it very public that they are ready to retire: they’re telling all of their friends, family and co-workers, along with planning a big retirement party.

Retirement party

Other people want to keep their plans quiet, and they just want to celebrate in their own private way. Whatever way you decide to move forward with your retirement is completely up to you. The only part of this step is that you can’t skip is that you have to formally tell your boss and HR of your company that you have plans to retire.

What Goes in the Retirement Letter?

While the exact wording of your letter is completely up to you, there is a basic structure you should follow to make sure it meets all requirements and clearly identifies your plans.

It’s important to note that this letter is not the time to reflect on your career with the company – you can do that at your retirement party (if you have one). You can add in a short thank you to show your gratitude to the company and their support of you, but it’s usually best to keep it short.

The letter needs to contain your personal information and the date you plan to retire, at the very least. Try your very best to keep things positive in the letter, even if you aren’t feeling super positive when writing the letter. You can also include any items you will need support with from the company to help you transition into your retirement.

Now, the Fun Part: Preparing for Your Retirement

As many of us know, preparing for retirement starts years (potentially even decades) before you actually retire. Most of us will be saving and investing when we’re younger in anticipation of money we will need when we are no longer working.

When you get there, though, you will need to do some more preparations to get you ready for the transition to retired life. This part of the process involves talking to your financial advisor to make a plan for the financial part of your retirement years.

You will need to determine the best course of action for how to access your investments and income and make sure you can pay your monthly bills and still live an enjoyable life.

Once you have worked out the finances it’s time to look at the other parts of retiring. For some people this part can be very overwhelming. We’ve spent the majority of our life at work and building our career so what do we do now that we have all this free time?

Retirement planning

If your spouse isn’t retiring yet this might become an odd time in your relationship so you will need to work out those details and get used to new routines.

Do you have this massive bucket list of things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time? Now might it – take the opportunity to explore the hobbies and experiences you’ve always wanted to do but were too busy working.

Working After Retiring

Well, this might seem weird, but it’s not all that uncommon. Many people who retire, and are still healthy, take up part-time work during their retirement. It isn’t usually right away as many people like to enjoy the first few months to just do nothing, or very little.

Many people will pick up casual or part-time work somewhat related to the field of work they did during their careers. Given the proliferation of the internet, the gig economy, and the acceptance of working from home, there are quite a few easy work-from-home jobs for seniors.

If you have decided to retire due to a physical disability or a surgery like knee replacement, you can still find work that is more suited to your pace and abilities. Given the emphasis on inclusive employment, it is not difficult to find jobs for wheelchair users and even quadriplegics.

Working post-retirement can help supplement your income, so you don’t have to use as much of your savings right away. Or it might just give you something to occupy your time.

Resignation or Retirement – Parting Words

Whether you completely retire or take up casual work – the choice is yours! You can decide how to spend your golden years in the way you’ve always dreamed of.

The idea of retiring can be very overwhelming, even though it’s something many of us spend a lot of our working years saving for. The idea of retirement is often this vague concept we keep working towards but aren’t really sure what to when we get there or how exactly we’ll know that we’ve arrived.

Making a plan for your retirement is paramount to make sure this transition is smooth and you’re able to enjoy these years as much as possible! One of the parts of this plan is to make sure your finances are in order and that comes from working with your financial advisor, but the other (and potentially bigger) part is how you’ll emotionally adjust to the life of retirement.

Give yourself credit for getting here and enjoy your time: travel, spend time with your friends and family, check off all those items on your bucket list . . . whatever you’ve always wanted to do, this is it.