Dear Auntie Em,
What do you think is the right age for retirement?
Dear Ms. Yet,
This is indeed a question for the ages. I think that one would hope one can retire while one is still vertical.
There is some discussion as to who should retire first--husband or wife? (This is, of course, assuming that they are living in the same household AND both working.) This question has an easy answer: husband. PARTICULARLY if he has no known hobbies, which many do not because they are always working. (Of course there's always the consideration of unknown hobbies, which could come to potentially embarrassing light once he retires---but that's another column for another day.)
The reason husband should retire first (if both spouses are working) is because husbands without hobbies have no idea what to do with themselves if they don't have a job. They just kind of mill about, aimlessly, and check to see what you are doing every fifteen minutes or so. It can be like having a toddler all over again. Unfortunately, many hobbies for older men are rather expensive, like golf, and one can drop thousands of dollars on the proper equipment and fees and such. Chances are, your husband is not independently wealthy and he cannot pay a zillion dollars for golf or European River Cruises or whatever it is that old guys with cash do. Hence, the annoying behavior. (If you have a yard, I suggest putting together a list of chores, even if they are silly ones, like picking up sticks. That should keep him busy for a week. After that? You are on your own. Thank goodness for adult coloring books. "Here, sweetie! Here are the crayons.") If husband retires first, then he learns to find things to do on his own. He gets into a groove and then you retire and he already has his pattern set; he won't be bothering you!
If it's just you to consider, retirement is a personal choice. Obviously you want to retire while you "can still do things." (I don't know about you, but the thought of being able to "still do things" is something I never thought I would be saying. It seems akin to "before my body craps out and they cart me off to the home." But there you have it. Still do things. Sheesh. What's next? Waving my cane and telling kids to get off my lawn?)
Here's what I suggest: take a couple of months and keep a detailed accounting of everything you spend. At the end of that time, go through and see what things are critical (electricity, car, wine, etc.) and which are not (things from the dollar section at Target, where they entice you with pastels and twine) and figure out just how much money you will need each month. Then go to your retirement specialist at work (everyone has them--they are sometimes your lone HR person and sometimes they have someone who's sole responsibility is to figure out when employees can retire--I can imagine that they are bitter as heck every time someone walks in) and figure out what your retirement check will be each month. If you don't have someone at work, I hope you have some type of account where you've been socking money away. Go to that financial institution and figure out how much is in that account. Then, have those folks do the math for you, and see how long you can live on the amount you will receive. If it's less than a year, you can't retire.
Good luck in all your future endeavors, but please get off my lawn--
Linking at TOHT