Downsides of early retirement

Early retirement may sound good on paper and may likely make your neighbors envious as they see you head for the golf course most days, but there are downsides that come with the territory.

Here are some of the more common ones, according to retirement experts.

Out of flux finances

Even if you’ve run the numbers to make sure early retirement is financially possible, you may inevitably find yourself spending more than you had anticipated, says Catherine Golladay, chief operating officer of Schwab Retirement Plan Services.

This will mean it is time for plan B.

“You’ve either got to change your lifestyle expectations, cut back on pricey goals like international travel to cover necessities like housing or health care, find some part-time work, or tap retirement savings before you had originally planned to,” says Golladay.

Lack of direction

This is the one that may surprise you. Retiring early, especially when your peers and co-workers are still working, may make you feel as though you are not contributing to society and could lead to boredom, says Golladay.

“The problem with having too much time on your hands is that it can lead to the development of bad habits,” Golladay says.

It is therefore critical that you have an active plan in place before you retire early, says Janet Bodnar, editor-at-large at Kiplinger’s magazine, and its “Rethinking Retirement” columnist.

“Know how you will spend your days, and what you will do with this free time. Also make sure your spouse is 100 percent on board with this plan, or that could cause issues down the line,” warns Bodnar.

Health care costs

When you retire early, you obviously lose your employer-sponsored coverage and since Medicare eligibility doesn’t typically start until age 65, you’ll need to put together a solid health-care coverage strategy beforehand, says Golladay.

“Private options are often costly and can put one more drain on your retirement savings,” Golladay says.

Feeling out of the loop

When you’ve spent decades in a profession, you may find it jolting not to be identified by your career or company. This could lead to an identity crisis at worst - and it could last for months if not years.

At best, retiring early may simply leave you feeling a bit “out of the loop and disconnected from your peers while they are all still in the same routine and interacting daily,” says Golladay.

Beware of social isolation, as it’s one of the world’s top silent killers, and is a major risk factor for a host of conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and early onset dementia. “It’s really important that early retirees seek out friendship and social interaction in other venues,” says Golladay.  This interaction could come from anywhere - whether through your church, neighborhood, or volunteer activities.

Vera Gibbons is the founder of which produces “NoPo” - a free daily newsletter that covers and curates non-political news only within Consumer/Personal Finance; Health & Wellness; Fashion/Beauty; Fitness/Diet.