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In a 2012 survey, 50% of current retirees said they retired earlier than they had planned.1

Retirement PlanningMany retirees reported reasons that were beyond their control, such as health problems or disability, company downsizing or closure, changes in the skills required for their jobs, or having to care for a spouse or family member. Yet some said they retired early by choice because they could afford to or because they wanted to do something different.2

If you’re nearing the end of your working years, you probably have a retirement timetable in mind. It may be as specific as a particular date or as general as a range of years. Regardless of your retirement planning, circumstances could change (as the experience of current retirees demonstrates) and retirement might come sooner than you think.

Calculate Your Income Stream

trend in age retirementIf you had to retire early, would you be able to maintain your standard of living? It might be helpful to calculate your projected income based on your preferred retirement timetable and an earlier date. Of course, the sooner you retire, the less time there will be for your financial instruments to pursue potential growth, so accelerating your retirement dollars now could make a big difference in how much you might have in your nest egg. If you retire on schedule (or later), having a potentially larger nest egg could give you more flexibility in your retirement lifestyle. Also keep in mind that Social Security benefits typically will be reduced if you retire before your “full retirement age,” which ranges from 65 to 67, depending on year of birth.

life_guide_retirementSurprises can be fun in many situations, but not when it comes to retirement. Preparing now could help ease you into a more comfortable retirement lifestyle.Download my free “Thinking Of Retirement?” Life Guide to help you with your retirement planning.

footnote 1 and 2 = Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2012