Let’s begin by saying that retirement isn’t something to rush into. Retirement planning is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and thousands of people end up having to work through retirement due to rushing to the ‘finish line’ and neglecting their preparations. Because of how finances and retirement plans work, it can be beneficial to your golden years if you put off retiring as long as possible. Retiring early is a nice thought, but you shouldn’t rush in just because of a bad patch, or because you’re burnt out on work. But it can be hard to tell the difference between feeling ready for retirement and just wishing for it. Here are some tips on telling the difference between burnout and being ready for retirement.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is often the result of chronic stress at work, alongside situations that bring about feelings that you aren’t in control, lack respect, or are otherwise hopeless. This is a very difficult situation to be in no matter what but recognizing exactly where your issues are arising is very important. Burnout is often caused by lengthy periods of stress at work – a busy sales season, a new boss, or a demanding client.

When Are You Ready for a Life Change?

Retiring early – especially before your plan says you can – should be the result of a deep realization, not a temporary situational change. When you’re ready for retirement, you’ll likely realize that work no longer matches with what you value in life. We all value leisure time, grandchildren, or spending time the way we want. But at a certain point in the retirement process, you’ll realize that work is no longer worth the time you’re spending on it. Maybe you’ve even realized a different passion can serve you better – becoming an artist, working in a woodshop, or striking out as an entrepreneur.

In essence, burnout is when you are withdrawing from stress, while retirement is pursuing a new goal.

The most important signs that you are ready for a new lifestyle are:

  • If you’ve put life goals on hold for work – Feeling trapped in a job is a major sign that you should try to escape it.
  • You don’t see the point of working – Without purpose we often begin to flounder about and go through the motions, which isn’t good for you or your employer.
  • You’ve lost yourself in the job – If you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror, it’s time to re-discover the things that used to fulfill you.
  • If you can’t imagine the future – If you can’t see what you’ll be like in 5-10 years, then you can’t prepare for the future.