How You Know When It’s Time to Retire

Whether your retirement date is nearby or far off, a little information from someone who’s already there can help you plan for it.

TCDRS retiree Ricardo Valdez enjoys working in the yard. Story and photo by Kelly E. Lindner

That’s why TCDRS asked Ricardo Valadez about his decision to retire at the age of 57, after 30 years as an attorney for Travis and Harris counties.

Q: How did you know you were ready to retire?
A: I have always prided myself on doing the best I can do in everything and every task. But I just got to a point where it wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t because of the job or the people; I just didn’t want to push myself so hard anymore. I felt done.

Q: How did you prepare for retirement?
A: I started paying attention to those paper statements TCDRS mailed me every year. Then I started going online to look at my options and estimate my benefit. When you’re in your 20s, you resent missing out on that money [from your paycheck], but when you’re thinking of retiring, you’re thankful for those savings.

Q: If you had the chance to do one thing differently, what would it be?
A: I would’ve read up more on how taxes affect my benefit. I forgot to change my withholding when I moved from working to not working. You don’t want to withhold the same amount once you’re retired!

Q: What advice would you give those who are thinking seriously about retiring?
A: Don’t fight it. If you feel that it’s time to retire, do it. Don’t believe that you’re going to be bored when you retire. There’s always something to do.

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