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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: June 2024

Deciding When to Retire

Michael L Goldblatt


  • From books to articles to videos, here are several resources to help you decide if it’s time to retire. 
Deciding When to Retire

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“September Song” was composed by Kurt Weil for “Knickerbocker Holiday,” a 1938 Broadway musical about an aging New York governor. The song reminds listeners to make the most of life in their final years. Although the play did not receive critical acclaim, the song was popularized with performances by Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson, and Frank Sinatra.

Like the protagonist in the Broadway musical, many lawyers work past the normal retirement age unless forced to retire by health or pressure from colleagues, family, and friends. Below are things to consider when deciding when to retire and links to resources for a smooth transition. 


  • Dignity – maintain self-esteem by retiring before age-related decline affects competencies.
  • Health – retire to enjoy life before unexpected health surprises limit mobility or lifestyle.
  • Insurance – be aware that health insurance is expensive, especially for those retiring before 65.
  • Lifespan – retire earlier if at risk for serious illness or premature death.
  • Lifestyle – consider working longer to save money for luxuries or travel.
  • Work – consider working after retirement by pursuing a new career, a part-time job, or pro bono work.
  • Purpose – retire later if work is an important part of your life.
  • Regrets – consider work/life balance to avoid regrets later in life.
  • Relationships – focus on activities and relationships that you want to remember.
  • Savings – delay retiring until savings are sufficient for post-retirements withdrawals of 4% per year.
  • Timing – take your time to avoid making the wrong decision.

“September Song” reminds us to focus on loved ones in the autumn of our lives. Make the most of your final years by selecting a retirement date that lets you work long enough to satisfy professional goals while allowing time to spend with family and friends. Consult your Bar Association’s Lawyers Assistance Program and the resources below for a smooth transition to retirement.