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When is the right time to retire? Metro Detroiters respond

Posted at 8:16 PM, Jul 05, 2024

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — When is the right time to retire and how do you really know? That's a question we took to the community to get answers on.

Life for Anita Scherk goes a little like this: "I go exercise three times a week. I go bingo twice a week."

It's a routine so important that we hardly wanted to interrupt.

"The jackpots aren't too bad. they're about $10," Scher said.

Her secret was simple: just "pay attention."

Meadowbrook Commons Senior Center in Novi, with its host of programs and opportunities for seniors, happened to be the perfect place to talk about numbers. A group of dozens were gathered to play Friday afternoon bingo.

"I was 93 when I sold my business," John Comer said.

He retired two years after that. He says making the decision was about "being realist."

"If I had died down in Ohio where I was living, owning a business would have been a mess," Comer said. Everyone at the table laughed.

His nephew Jeff Crawford says he retired before his uncle.

"I had taught school for 35 years and it was like it was time. I was just too far removed from the kids," Crawford said. "Couldn't relate anymore."

The age of retirement in the room ran the gambit. From over 90 to as young as 40, their reasons were just as varied.

Emotional intelligence coach Cathy Mott says she has coached hundreds of executives and thousands of others globally and has gotten the question a lot.

"I had one potential client refer to his retirement in his 50s, just getting started working his passion and feeling fired up,” Mott said.

She says age doesn't seem to be a factor in figuring out whether to stay at a job.

"In my experience, age doesn’t matter. It’s not like I have noticed people reach a certain age and say oh, I’m ready. It’s they want to do something different, or they want to spend more time with their family or pursue a passion,” Mott said.

Emotional intelligence coach Cathy Mott

Her advice to answer that question is to do a self-assessment at least quarterly to develop a healthy relationship with yourself to see if the job is meeting your physical and mental goals.

“Listening to yourself and effectively communicating with yourself, you’ll definitely know when the time is right for you to retire," Mott said. “It’s purpose and passion and I feel like we should always be checking in with ourselves to see where we are."