6 Events That Could Trigger Your Retirement

Sometimes there is a catalyst that causes workers to begin contemplating retirement.

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It’s difficult to determine exactly when you are ready to leave behind your day job forever. Sometimes there is a catalyst that causes workers to begin contemplating retirement. A recent Harris Interactive survey of 2,007 adults between ages 40 and 75 commissioned by Ameriprise Financial asked them to name the one event that caused them to seriously think about when, how, and where to retire. Here are the reasons most people take the plunge into retirement.

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Health problems. The most common reason people leave their jobs is that they are simply no longer physically able to work. Some 28 percent of retired women and 22 percent of retired men say an illness or health issues forced them into retirement. Sometimes employees also retire to care for a relative with health problems.

Achieving financial freedom. Knowing that you have enough money to last the rest of your life makes the transition into retirement much easier. About 19 percent of retired men and 10 percent of retired women left their job primarily because they had the financial resources to do so. Achieving financial freedom also caused 19 percent of pre-retired men and 13 percent of women on the verge of retirement to give serious thought to exiting the workforce.

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A spouse retires. Considerably more retired women (16 percent) than retired men (6 percent) followed a spouse into retirement. Another 9 percent of working women, but only 3 percent of employed men, plan to coordinate retirement with their spouse.

A significant birthday. Sometimes workers have a specific age in mind when they would like to retire. Some 20 percent of working men and 12 percent of employed women have an ideal age when they would like to retire. But few retirees say they left their job simply after they reached an age threshold. Only 5 percent of retired men and 8 percent of retired women report that age alone ended up being the most significant factor in when they chose to retire.

[See 10 Reasons Baby Boomers are Delaying Retirement.]

A layoff. A layoff or career setback is increasingly forcing workers into early retirement. Some 12 percent of retired men and 7 percent of retired women started calling themselves retired after they were unable to find work.

An empty nest. Finally getting the children out of the house was a compelling reason to retire for 7 percent of retired men and 5 percent of retired women.