Is Retirement in 2023 Still Possible?

Yes, it is, if you have a customized plan specific to your retirement. If you do, you’re in the minority, though, so here are some ways to develop that plan.

An older couple sit on a porch swing together facing a view of a valley.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For those approaching the end of a career, there are four questions many soon-to-be retirees want answered before they feel completely comfortable leaving a paycheck behind and making one of life’s biggest transitions by retiring:

  • When can I actually retire?
  • Will I have enough?
  • Will my wealth last?
  • Will my spouse or significant other be OK when I’m gone?

Given the volatility we’ve seen in the financial markets since the end of 2021, many who planned to retire in 2023 are taking a pause because they feel less confident about the answer to each of these questions.

From 2012 through 2021, the average stock market return was 14.8% annually for the S&P 500 index, according to This may have provided some comfort and even a slight “false sense of security” for investors without a formal plan to move into their next phase of life. Unfortunately for many, the recent state of the markets has caused their confidence to wane and feelings of uncertainty to take hold.

The simple answer to all of these questions, as well as other concerns about the ability to retire comfortably in 2023, is this: Do you have a customized plan specific to your retirement?

Yes, folks, that may seem too obvious! If you have a specific plan customized to your retirement, then you’re probably in the minority. Over the years, I’ve seen too many people think that the only significant decision that needs to be made prior to or during retirement is when to file for Social Security benefits, while simultaneously planning to live their remaining years off the positive returns in the markets. When to begin Social Security benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. However, it is only one of many things you will need to consider as part of your overall retirement.

To feel more confident about your plans to retire in 2023 and beyond, consider the following:

Nicholas J. Toman, CFP®
Certified Financial Planner & Retirement Planning Specialist, Empowered Financial Management

Nicholas Toman, CFP®, is a lead retirement planner and investment adviser with Empowered Financial Management, a firm that specializes in retirement planning for those individuals within five to seven years of retirement or who have recently retired and no longer wish to serve as their own financial adviser. Nicholas is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BBA in accounting and has been a Certified Financial Planner since 2014.