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3 Reasons Why 2021 May Be a Bad Year to Retire

By Maurie Backman – Dec 25, 2020 at 1:18AM

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Thinking of retiring in the coming year? Here are some pitfalls you may encounter.

If you chose 2021 as the ideal year to retire some time ago, you might be inclined to move forward with your plans despite the craziness of the past year. In fact, given the events of 2020, you may be more eager than ever to leave the workforce and enjoy your freedom. While you may be looking forward to retiring in the coming year, here are a few reasons to reconsider.

1. Economic uncertainty

Lawmakers just passed a second relief bill to provide aid during the pandemic. The bill includes $600 stimulus checks, which could serve as a lifeline for struggling Americans. But a single round of aid won't save the economy, which will likely be in bad shape for the better part of 2021. As a retiree, that may not impact you -- after all, if you intend to leave your job, the unemployment rate won't necessarily top your list of concerns. An unstable economy could impact stock values, though. That could prove problematic if you'll rely on your IRA or 401(k) plan once your paycheck goes away.

Older man in dress shirt and tie wearing mask

Image source: Getty Images.

In fact, we don't know if the stock market will crash again in 2021 as it did back in March of 2020. We don't know how long recovery would take. Granted, stocks could tumble at any time, but seeing as how we're still in the midst of a major health and economic crisis, it may not be an ideal time to rely heavily on the investments in your retirement plan.

2. Limited entertainment options

The last thing you want to do is retire only to wind up bored. If you leave the workforce in 2021, that might happen.

Coronavirus vaccines are just now rolling out. Even though older Americans are in line to get them before younger folks, it could still be several months before you're able to schedule that appointment. Even then, there could still be a need to stay home and practice social distancing for months as health experts disseminate vaccine doses to the public. If you're able to work remotely and there's no danger to your physical well-being, then sticking with it could keep you entertained.

3. Needless upheaval

A lot of people have had their worlds turned upside down -- and not in a good way -- during the pandemic. You may not want to bring a major change upon yourself in the coming year, even if it's technically a positive one. You never know when a new routine might throw you off course mentally. Given the challenges of living through a pandemic, that's a pile of stress you don't need right now.

What's the right move for you?

You may decide to move forward with your retirement plans despite the drawbacks above. There's nothing wrong with that. After all, retirement is a personal, individual decision. Only you can decide when the timing is right. The point, however, is to be aware of the pitfalls you might face should you choose to retire in 2021. You may decide that it's worth it to wait out the pandemic and retire when the world is a safer, more enjoyable place to be.

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