Top 5 Reasons to Retire – Or Not Retire 2023

Should I stay or should I go?  If you remember the 1982 Clash song, you might be exactly the person asking this question.  It is estimated that over 200,000 current teachers are asking this question in 2023.

Retirement is a monumental decision that can bring up a mix of conflicting emotions for teachers. It’s a crossroads where some may feel they have given their all to their students, while others still feel a fire in their hearts to keep teaching.

Whether you’re still afire with the passion that drives you to teach, or ready to bask in the fruits of your labor, ThinkFives is here to help you determine the next step in your teaching journey. Here are our Top 5 factors teachers might want to take into consideration when deciding.

But first a few fun facts about retirement.

5 Fun Facts about Retirement

  • According to a survey by CPAs, 1 in 4 Americans have no retirement savings.
  • The average retirement age in the United States is 62.
  • In a survey of 5,000 retirees, 83% said that retirement was either “the best time of their life” or “a very positive time.”
  • Studies have found that the median retirement account balance for workers aged 55 to 64 pre-COVID was $144,000.
  • The NEA estimates that 200,000 teachers retire each year and the average teacher retirement age is 59.

To Retire: You Deserve It

Many teachers retire when they reach a certain age or after they have accumulated a specific number of years in the profession. Depending on your retirement plan or the requirements of your state or district, you may be eligible to retire with full benefits or receive an increased pension.

Also, teaching can be a very demanding and stressful profession. Many teachers may become burnt out after years of working long hours, dealing with challenging students and parents, and managing heavy workloads. Burnout can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, and you may decide that you have earned the right to retire and enjoy a less stressful lifestyle.

To Not Retire: You Still Love IT

If you enjoy your work and find it fulfilling, you may want to consider delaying retirement to continue pursuing your career goals. Many people find purpose and meaning in their jobs, and leaving a career they love can be difficult. Continuing to work can also provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.

For most, teaching is more than just a job, it is a passion and a calling. You find joy in helping students learn and grow, and feel fulfilled by the impact you are making on your students’ lives. Many  teachers also enjoy the camaraderie and sense of community that comes with being part of a school or educational institution.

To Retire: You Miss Your Family

Remember your family?  Those people you live with but often neglect because you need to grade papers, prep for class, or create resources. Family time is a great benefit of retirement.  Teachers have the chance to spend more quality time with their families, especially with grandchildren. You can finally put the long nights(and weekends) of work behind  and focus on family, taking on a more active role in the lives of your loved ones.

Retirees can use this time to travel, help with childcare, or simply relax and enjoy the company of those closest to them. Retirement allows you the opportunity to rekindle your love and bond with family members, fostering a fulfilling and joyful family life.

To Not Retire: You Are Worried

If you’re not confident that you have enough money saved to support yourself throughout your retirement, it might be wise to delay retiring. This is especially important if you have outstanding debts or dependents who rely on your income. Continuing to work for a few more years can help you build up your retirement savings and ensure a more comfortable financial future.

If you rely on employer-sponsored health insurance, retiring before you are eligible for Medicare at age 65 could leave you without health coverage. Delaying retirement can ensure that you have access to health insurance and avoid potentially costly medical bills.

Also, with the 2023 economy struggling with a possible recession, traditional retirement savings may have dropped, providing less income in the future and causing a more stressful feeling about financial security.

To Retire: You Want to Enjoy Life

What is the top reason to retire?  Our retired teachers tell us that it’s an improved quality of life.

Retirement can greatly improve your quality of life by offering a much-needed break from the demands and challenges of the classroom. It allows for more free time to spend with loved ones and pursue personal interests, leading to a more fulfilling and well-rounded life. Retirement can also provide relief from the physical and emotional toll of teaching, reducing stress, and burnout, which can negatively impact one’s health and well-being.

Additionally, retirement can provide you with financial security with access to retirement savings and pension plans, which can alleviate any worries about future financial stability. Retirement can be a chance for you to enjoy a more relaxed and rewarding lifestyle, free from the pressures and responsibilities of teaching.

What factors do you think teachers should consider when discussing retirement?


    1. Same here! I have 26 years and could have gone under ‘early retirement’ but the difference in my pension from now until 4-5 years is quite a chunk of change!

      1. Just curious if you don’t mind sharing, what percentage difference does a district offer between early retirements and regular retirements? Jim

  1. #2 all the way! But seriously, so many different views on retiring! Thank you for showing the many sides in this decision!

  2. I wavered back and forth this year, but finally ready! Now I just need to figure out my next career! 66 years old and 30 years teaching.

What do you THINK?

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