Retirement Read Time: 3 min

Is it early retirement season?

Move over Punxsutawney Phil, there’s a new groundhog in town! Boca Betty can use her groundhog powers to forecast whether you’re on track with your retirement plans. If Betty doesn’t see her shadow, that means you may be headed for an early retirement, but if she does, you might still have some work to do (literally!).

So what is early retirement?

Early retirement means retiring before the age of 65. The average U.S. retirement age is 63: in 2021, the average retirement age for men was 65, and 62 for women.1 If you’re looking to retire early, you’ll need good planning and should consider seeking the help of a financial professional to prepare you for the road ahead — whatever the weather.

While Betty’s shadow may be one indicator of retirement preparedness, there’s some more reliable advice on how to help set yourself up to retire early as well.

Have a written financial strategy

A formal, written financial strategy is one of the best ways to get on track for early retirement, live within your means, and hold yourself financially accountable. According to our research, 74% of the most confident American work have a written financial strategy. Don’t have one? Need a way to get started? Tools like a retirement planner can be a great way to open up conversations with your family and financial professional. Having a written plan, ideally developed with a trusted financial professional, can help to bring clarity and purpose to decision-making. 

Be (or become) a world-class saver*

Did you know that only about 4 in 10 Americans have enough savings to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000?2 Some experts say to build the equivalent of three months in spending, and even that may not be enough. For an early retirement, you’ll want as much money saved as possible.

Set up or maintain sources of guaranteed income

Most retirees have at least one or two guaranteed income sources — Social Security and/or pension payments. But for an early retirement, additional sources may be necessary, such as annuities or whole life insurance, which can provide continued support over time and in the event of risks such as health events and market fluctuations.

Get rid of high-interest debt

High-interest debt (like credit cards) can be a drain on your savings and income — a major problem if you’re planning to retire early. The best plan is to avoid this debt in the first place, especially if early retirement is an aspiration.

Work with a financial professional

With the guidance of a financial professional, retirees are able to prepare for and navigate retirement alongside someone they trust. Don’t do it alone — finding a professional to walk with you through planning can help you avoid obstacles that might delay your retirement (and keep Betty’s shadow out of sight).

Consider an active retirement

Working in some capacity during retirement is an option for many retirees. Retirement work can range from part-time employment, to consulting to starting a small business, and beyond, but if you plan to work after retiring from your main career, it can reduce your income and savings needs.

Feeling stuck?

Retirement worries can feel like being trapped in a time loop — trying and retrying the same strategies, never sure if we’re making progress. Need a dose of professional wisdom to break the cycle? Talk to a financial professional today.


*A “World Class saver” is a person who saves at least 15 to 20% of gross income.




Annuity and life insurance guarantees are backed exclusively by the strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. While the primary purpose of life insurance is death benefit protection, it is important to understand the advantages that cash value accumulation can provide to clients, including supplemental income during retirement.

Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2020. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY.

2022-145440 Exp. 10/2024


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