Is It Time? Understanding When CFOs Retire

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Money. Family. Success. For many people, the definition of the “American Dream” has different meanings. Retirement data suggests that for Chief Financial Officers, an early retirement is an epitome of that dream. In 2013, fifty-six of the nation’s top CFOs retired, which is thirteen more than the year before. While most workers wait until the age of 65, approximately 20 percent of the CFOs retiring were 55 or younger. This brought the average age of retiring CFOs down to 59.

While this has been a long-term trend, it seems that the 2008 recession may have intensified this pattern. CFOs who guided their companies through rough financial waters are more likely to take a rest, especially now that the stock market engine is roaring back to life.

3 Signs It’s Time to Retire

Not sure if you’re ready to retire? You’re not alone. For many CFOs, this is a tough decision, especially if you’re considering retiring early. By looking out for these telltale signs, you can ensure that you retire only when you’re supposed to.

  1. You’re emotionally ready. When it comes to retirement, everyone’s always looking at their financial portfolio. One often overlooked key factor, however, is whether or not you’re emotionally ready to stop working. A strong financial portfolio is a means to stop working, of course, but being in the right emotional state for retirement is the reason to stop. If you can still live an active mental, spiritual, and emotional life once work stops, the signs are looking good.
  2. Your children are independent. While the decision to retire should be based solely on you and your needs, today’s uncertain economy has changed the parent-child landscape. For many families, children have to remain connected with their parents in order to become financially stable. If your children still need monetary help, you may consider putting off retirement just a little longer.
  3. You’ve accomplished your goal. Most CFOs join a company with a specific goal in mind. Whether it’s “leaving your mark” or bringing the organization to a new milestone, reaching this goal is a satisfying feeling and a natural stopping point in your professional story.

While there is no end-all-be-all sign that it’s time to retire, these are incredibly strong signs. Have you experienced any of them?