By Brenda Johnson, Work, Careers and Job @40+

When David Letterman, Indianapolis native and popular host of the “Late Show with David Letterman” announced his retirement, he joined a long list of retiring celebrities, including former anchorwoman Barbara Walters, baseball star Derek Jeter and talk show host Jay Leno.

When you are not a celebrity, making the decision on when to leave work becomes a bit more complicated. Retirement is a major life event with financial, social, health, and relationship considerations.

Layoffs and health problems often take the choice out of leaving work.

However, for those who voluntarily end their careers after a financial review supports the decision, here are three other issues to consider:

  • Wellness — Many employees keep working because of the insurance benefits. While the Affordable Care Act provides health care, employers often offer additional wellness perks including on-site fitness centers, discounts at local health clubs and incentives to stay healthy. Working provides a level of activity even if it is walking around the office or to and from the parking lot. Finding a way to maintain exercise is important after work ends.
  • Relationship Reboot — For couples, having one partner retired and another in the workforce changes their “Couple Dynamics” positively or negatively depending on their pre-planning. Being employed offers a primary source of social interaction for many singles and empty nesters. Some thought has to be given to maintaining a connection with others in order to avoid isolation. Discovering
  • Significance — In addition to staying active and engaged socially at work, employees often find meaning through their work. During retirement if the 3Gs – grandchildren, golf and gardening– are not fulfilling enough, there are other options to pursue a purposeful life after leaving the workforce. Working part-time, turning a hobby into a business and meaningful volunteer activities are among the ways retirees discover their post-employment passions.

Those who decide to continue working are part of new trend the Gallup survey has reported. Americans who are still working expect to retire at age 66. The survey also reported that “workers age 60-69 have slightly better emotional health than those who do not work.”

The biggest issue is identifying employers who are interested in recruiting and retaining experienced workers. The emotional component of saying good-bye to work varies, and depends on each person’s relationship with their employer and whether they viewed their work as a job, career or pursuing a calling.

Employees with enough years to leave work usually have more unused vacation than they can use in a year. A four-week “retirement rehearsal” at home is one way to preview what life after work might look like if your employer will agree.

Use the rehearsal to live within your planned post-work budget, fill your days the way you plan to during retirement and decide whether or not it is really time to call it quits.

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