How will you know when it’s time to go?

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.

By Alan Spector

You sit at your desk, stand in front of your class,

See clients all day, design landscapes, lead Mass,

Run the company you founded, sell stocks and bonds,

Help people with taxes, do morning rounds. 

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You’re a corporate exec, approve housing loans,

Construct buildings, fly airplanes, clean teeth, sell phones,

Keep the peace, fight fires, fix dented cars,

Cater parties, wait tables, play baseball, tend bar.


You dispense medication, grow fields of grain

Operate a lathe, printing press, or crane.

Barrister, barrista, ballerina, banker,

Design interiors, captain a tanker.


Your whole adult life, you’ve worked hard and deserve

A retirement that doesn’t throw you a curve.

A few of your friends are leading the way,

But what’s right for you—when is your day?


You fret and you wonder;

You worry and ponder.

How will you know

When it’s time to go?


There’s a way to consider

When the time will be right

To start your transition,

To retire, take flight.


Ask yourself these four questions.

When all answers are “Yes,”

You’ll be ready to retire

With minimal stress.


Will I have enough?

That’s question one.

If your answer is “Yes,” 

Check it off, you’re done.


Will I have enough to do?

That’s question two.

A life full and fulfilling with

Some things old and some new.


Have I had enough?

That’s question three.

The answer is “Yes,” 

If you long to be free.


Will someone want me around 24×7?

That’s question four.

If the answer is “No,” 

There’s trouble in store.


How will you know 

When it’s time to go?

Are the four answers “Yes?”

Wait not one second more.

Previously published in “Put Old on Hold” Journal.