iStock_000001433984LargeYou’ve been planning it for years, but before you enter retirement you should take the time to make sure you’re really ready. As you approach your expected retirement date, ask yourself the following four questions. Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers! Answering these questions honestly will help you to assess your readiness to retire.

Am I ready to give up my career? Yes, work can sometimes be stressful for all of us. But on a daily basis, do you enjoy the people with whom you work? Do you get a sense of fulfillment from doing your job well? Keep in mind that you will lose the positives of your work environment along with escaping the negatives.

What will I do once I retire? At first, you might think it sounds like fun to simply do nothing all day. But most retirees find that they feel bored if they don’t find ways to stay active. Before you retire, give some thought to how you will spend your time on a day-to-day basis. Plan some volunteer activities or join a few local organizations that catch your interest.

Do I want to live close to family? As you grow older, it may become more important to have your children nearby for emergencies. And if you have grandchildren, you might decide that living close to them will bring fun and fulfillment to this new stage in your life. Unless your family already lives close by, you could be facing the choice of whether to move closer to them.

Am I financially prepared for retirement? This, of course, is the million-dollar question. Even retirees who believed themselves to be prepared have faced some unpleasant surprises once they reached retirement. Remember to factor in the rising cost of healthcare, long term care expenses, and the fact that inflation will significantly impact your budget over the next decade or so. Talk to your financial professional or insurance broker about making sure you’re prepared for everything life might throw at you.