A lifetime of working compels many people to look forward to their retirement. Some people even plan their careers so they can retire early. What are the advantages of early retirement beyond starting a life of leisure? Are there any drawbacks to this plan?

A 2014 survey by the financial services provider TIAA-CREF found that 37 percent of Americans plan to retire before age 65. However, many do not have control over when they retire. Those who do should first consider the pros and cons of early retirement.

Advantages

Many people want to retire early so they can be free of the constraints of a busy schedule. In retirement, it’s up to the retiree to decide what to do with his time.

Retiring from a job can improve a person's health as well. Saying goodbye to the pressures and stresses of professional life frees up the mind and body. Stress can affect mental and physical health, taxing the heart and contributing to conditions such as depression and anxiety. The effects of stress can manifest themselves in headaches, muscle and chest pain, and trouble sleeping.

The earlier a person retires, the more opportunity she has to travel before health issues begin to limit mobility. Early retirement also can free up time to volunteer or even pursue a new job opportunity - one in which the retiree has greater control over her schedule and career.

Disadvantages

One of the disadvantages of early retirement is a loss of income. Contributions to retirement accounts also cease at retirement. That can lead to financial setbacks if the retiree didn’t save enough money before retiring. According to online financial resource Wealth How, some people who retire early fear that they will outlive their savings.

While retiring early might be good for health, it also can have negative consequences. An analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that retirement can lead to a decline in mental health and mobility as well as feelings of isolation. For those who don’t know what to do with themselves in retirement, leaving work early might jump-start such health problems.

Another consideration is that employer-provided health insurance typically ends at retirement. That means a retiree must plan to pay out of pocket or buy an insurance policy until he ages into a government-subsidized health care program such as Medicare at age 65.

Retiring early is a complex decision that requires weighing the pros and cons before taking the plunge.

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The Insiders: This article is sponsored by Uncommon Cents Investing

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