11 Signs You Could Have Retired Years Ago

Retired Couple Sitting Outdoors At Home Having Morning Coffee Together.
monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many people agonize over when to retire, because no matter how much you have saved, it typically means a loss of income and a number of other factors that affect your lifestyle. You’ll have to figure out how to finance all your same expenses, and often with much less money that comes from Social Security benefits, retirement funds and other savings.

However, some people may have organized their finances and lifestyle so frugally, or gotten so ahead of the game with investments or other financial strategies, that they don’t even realize they could have retired already. Here, our experts point out some of the common signs that you could have retired years ago — or can pull the trigger now.

You Don’t Have a Spending Problem

Most Americans spend as much, or more, than they make, according to Joe Wilson, financial expert and owner of Ten Point Financial, LLC,. On the flipside, “Consistently living on less than you make is a great indicator that you are ready for retirement,” Wilson said

You’ve Weathered Stock Market Downturns

Another sign of being retirement-ready is having made smart decisions during market downturns. For example, Wilson said, “During COVID I saw many investors, and some advisors, sell off investments and lose years of progress only to see the stock market rebound in a matter of months. Facing market uncertainty but sticking to your strategy is a great sign you can thrive in retirement.” 

Are You Retirement Ready?

You Have More Than 25 Times Your Yearly Expenses Saved

Retirement is the ultimate exercise in budgeting, so the more money you have saved, the more likely you could have retired already. Wilson cited a Trinity Study that says with proper asset allocation, retirement savings can last 30 years with a 4% withdrawal rate. “Withdrawing less than 4% of your holding per year to pay for expenses is a great starting point to being retired.”

You Have Achieved Financial Independence

One significant sign that you could have retired already is if you’ve achieved financial independence, where you have accumulated enough savings and investments to cover your living expenses without relying on employment income, said Frano Grgić, a Forex trader and CEO of GetKnowTrading. “This means you can sustain your lifestyle for an extended period without depleting your invested principal.”

You Have Minimal or No Debt

Having little to no debt is another positive indicator of retirement readiness, as well. Grgić said, “It means you have effectively managed your finances and reduced financial obligations that could hinder your retirement plans. Being debt-free allows you to allocate your resources towards enjoying your retirement years.”

Work Is Optional 

If you are still working by choice, and not under financial obligation, it suggests you might have been retirement ready for a while. Grgić said, “If you find joy and fulfillment in your work but could comfortably walk away without financial strain, it’s a good sign that retirement has been within reach.”

Your Spouse Retired

If your spouse has already retired, it may indicate that you could have retired years ago, as well. Grgić said, “Often, couples plan their retirement together and coordinate their financial goals. If your spouse has successfully transitioned into retirement, it might be a clue that you could have done the same.”

Are You Retirement Ready?

Your Savings Exceed Retirement Goals

If you find yourself in the coveted position where your financial assets and savings exceed the amount you estimated for retirement, it’s a strong sign that you could have retired earlier, said Amber Dixon, CEO of Elderly Guides. “The key is to have a financial cushion that covers more than just your expected living expenses,” she said.

You Receive Passive Income

Beyond retirement savings, if you’re in a position to receive a steady stream of passive income, such as rental income, dividends or royalties that covers your expenses, you might have been retirement-ready for some time, Dixon explained.

Healthcare Is Covered 

While retirement years are often leisure years, you may also be facing more health issues. If you have a solid healthcare plan that can cover potential medical costs in your retirement years, it’s a good hint you could have retired earlier. Dixon said, “Healthcare costs are often a significant concern for retirees.”

Social Security Benefits Are Enough

Americans become eligible to collect Social Security benefits between ages 62 and 67, according to the Social Security Administration. Though the longer you wait, the more you are likely to get. If you have already reached your full retirement age and your Social Security benefits are enough to support your lifestyle, this is another sign that you could have retired earlier, Dixon said.

More From GOBankingRates

Are You Retirement Ready?


See Today's Best
Banking Offers