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December 2020- January 2021

Passing the Faith


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brown on green, A Regular column about finances


Is It Time to Retire?

Multiple factors determine when someone should retire. Many people look forward to retirement and focus on the earliest possible date. Others enjoy their job or own a business they love and don’t plan to retire. There is no “right” answer for when it’s time to retire.

Sometimes, a retirement date is the day both spouses decide on together. When one spouse is retired and the other continues to work, it can cause difficulties in a marriage. Therefore, many retire on the same date. However, they may not be the same age when they retire. When one spouse is significantly older than the other, the older spouse may retire at an older age, and the younger retires at a more typical age. An individual with health issues or with a shorter expected lifespan due to genetics may wish to retire earlier, while someone in good health with a family history of long lifespans may want to delay.

Economic factors also influence retirement. Preparing for retirement by contributing to an IRA, 401k, 403b, or other plans make early retirement possible, but delaying preparation means you may have no choice but to delay retirement. Social Security benefits are usually a big part of retirement income. The typical retirement age of 65 does not apply today. To reach “full retirement age,” for someone born in 1955 (65 years ago), you must work until 66 years and two months.

This adjusts by two months each year thereafter. So, if your birth year is 1956, then 66 and four months is full retirement and so forth till those born after 1960 is age 67. However, by delaying the date you start receiving Social Security, you raise the amount you receive. The maximum age you can delay your benefits is age 70, but delaying can increase your benefit by more than 30%.

If you delay retirement, an honest evaluation of your job effectiveness is essential. As we age, our physical and mental abilities sometimes deteriorate. No one wants to continue in a job if they honestly know they are unable to do the work required. It is better for you to make that determination rather than be forced into retirement because you cannot do your job. Be truthful with your own evaluation, and perhaps even consult with an unbiased friend who will tell you the truth in love. It is best to retire before you reach the point of diminishing skills and become a burden to your employer or business.

About the Columnist: David Brown is director of Free Will Baptist Foundation. To learn more about the grants program, visit


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