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Home » One More Year Syndrome – What Is It and How to Overcome It?

One More Year Syndrome – What Is It and How to Overcome It?

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The “One More Yearsyndrome is a psychological condition that forces individuals who want to retire to keep going for one more year. The syndrome is most prevalent in individuals who follow the FIRE movement. FIRE, for those who don’t know, stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. It is a movement whose goal is to help us achieve financial independence with the ultimate goal of retiring early.

FIRE is self-explanatory, but the “One More Year” syndrome has recently gained plenty of exposure, as experts tie it directly to FIRE. One More Year syndrome isn’t necessarily a negative syndrome, but it does state our disinterest in retiring, despite achieving financial independence and having enough money to support ourselves through retirement.

This guide aims to explain the One More Year syndrome and provide our readers with a thorough explanation of what the syndrome is and how to overcome it. 

What Is One More Year Syndrome? 

One More Year Syndrome refers to a psychological urge that forces individuals who have reached a point of financial independence or have enough savings to retire comfortably to continue working for an additional year before retiring. This syndrome has many characteristics, but the most notable is the persistent feeling that “just one more year of work” will provide an extra cushion of financial security. 

Individuals who continue working for one more year despite reaching a point where their current finances are sufficient to support them through retirement believe that one more year will allow them to make enough money for a more extravagant retirement lifestyle. But many also look at the syndrome in a negative light. 

They believe the One More Year syndrome to be nothing but a means of earning more money despite achieving financial independence. Therefore, it can be a challenging mindset to overcome, as the allure of earning more money and further padding one’s nest egg can be enticing.

Why do People Keep Working for One More Year?

Several reasons exist as to why people may experience One More Year Syndrome. Some of the most common ones include:

Fear of Running Out of Money

Despite having a substantial nest egg, some individuals may still have lingering concerns about their financial security in retirement. They worry about unforeseen expenses or outliving their savings, leading them to feel the need to work for one more year to build an additional financial buffer.

Such feelings aren’t uncommon, especially for those following the FIRE movement. But working for one more year reinforces doubts many FIRE followers have regarding claims they’ve achieved financial independence. Therefore, the One More Year syndrome states you’re not financially ready to retire

Attachment to Work Identity

Many people find purpose in their careers. Moreover, many people see their work as their identity. Therefore, retiring means letting go of a significant part of their identity, which can be daunting. However, continuing to work for one more year allows them to hold on to that familiar sense of self and purpose.

The One More Year syndrome helps these individuals with attachment to work identity issues. For them, the syndrome isn’t a sign they’re not financially ready to retire, but they’re not psychologically ready to quit their jobs and careers. 

Social Pressure

A surprising number of individuals who experience the One More Year syndrome feel the social pressure of working past the point of achieving financial freedom. Nowadays, social norms and expectations play a big part in how others view us. 

For example, retiring at 47 might be viewed as negative or lazy by some. As a result, most want to gain social approval from their peers to avoid judgment. This prompts them to continue for one more year to gain much-needed social approval and be viewed as hard-working and productive members of society. 

Lifestyle Inflation

A core pillar of financial independence is living below your means. However, many experience lifestyle changes as their incomes and investments increase over time. The sudden change in lifestyle inflation forces individuals to rethink their retirement strategy. Upon further review, individuals conclude that their current income level isn’t sufficient to support life through retirement, especially with increased spending and expenses. 

On the other hand, many factors related to lifestyle inflation are economic in nature. These are unforeseen and hidden factors, and many FIRE movement followers fail to predict them when developing their retirement strategy

As a result, they encounter the One More Year syndrome and look to continue working to maintain the same level of spending and lifestyle in retirement.

Benefits of One More Year Syndrome

With that said, not all is doom and gloom with the One More Year syndrome. Despite outlining the clear and obvious holes in individuals’ retirement strategies, the syndrome has its benefits. Those include:

  • Increased Financial Security

Continuing to work for one more year does provide individuals with the opportunity to accumulate additional savings. With these savings, individuals increase their financial cushion and are more financially ready for retirement. The obvious psychological benefit of the One More Year syndrome is the sense of security regarding running out of money. 

  • Enhanced Retirement Lifestyle

Most see retirement as a time to rest and relax, travel, and even pursue other interests and hobbies. Working for one more year provides an opportunity to gain extra income to fund these activities and potential new hobbies. As a result, many choose to work for one more year to make life in retirement more luxurious and enjoyable. 

  • Delay Social Security Benefits

Retiring at 47 provides fewer social security benefits than retiring at 67. While most who achieve financial independence stop working well before 67, working for one more year puts you closer to retirement age. As a result, individuals reap more social security benefits through a higher monthly social security income in retirement. 

How to Overcome One More Year Syndrome?

Working for one more year does have its benefits and drawbacks. For many, working for one more year despite achieving financial independence is appealing, especially if they’re far from the traditional retirement age. But we must also acknowledge one potential downside to continuing to work for one more year. Namely, working for one more year can put you on a downward spiral where one year turns to two; two turns to five, five turns to ten, and so on.

Therefore, if you are financially ready but struggle to overcome the One More Year syndrome, here are several tips to help you do that:

Clearly Define Your Retirement Goals

Individuals must clearly define their retirement goals to avoid experiencing the One More Year syndrome. With clearly defined retirement goals, individuals can visualize the life they want in retirement and the life leading to retirement. In addition, it will help them understand what they hope to achieve to reach the income level to support life in retirement. 

Assess Your Financial Situation

Before going into retirement or reaching close to the point of retirement through financial independence, individuals must perform a thorough assessment of their financial situation. They must assess their savings, investments, and other income sources to determine if they are ready for retirement. 

If the results point otherwise, they can experience the One More Year syndrome. Therefore, individuals must understand their financial strength before retirement to overcome the syndrome.

Challenge the Fears of Running Out of Money

Retirement is when we put up our feet and enjoy our time left. But, considering the financially uncertain times we live in, fears of running out of money will always exist. Individuals must challenge these fears to overcome the One More Year syndrome and prevent it from occurring in the first place. 

To escape these fears, employ different retirement strategies, such as creating a budget, managing investments, and keeping an emergency fund. 

Redefine Your Identity

We mentioned that some people experience the One More Year syndrome out of fear of losing their identity, which is tied to their careers and jobs. Therefore, one way to overcome the One More Year syndrome is to redefine your identity and take on new hobbies and interests. 

Ignore the Social Pressures

Similarly to the previous one, individuals must ignore the social pressures of early retirement to overcome the One More Year syndrome. You mustn’t let others tell you how to live your life. If you want to retire early at 47, do it despite what others think of early retirement. Another thing to do is surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will encourage you to work hard to achieve financial independence and early retirement.

Have a Retirement Backup Plan

You’re most likely experiencing the One More Year syndrome because of a fault in your existing retirement plan. However, it’s common for outside factors to play a defining role in your retirement plan. 

For example, you might have enough savings in the bank to support your lifestyle through retirement, but no one can predict a sudden bankruptcy of the bank. While this undoubtedly will throw your retirement plan in the fire, it’s essential to have a backup plan in place. 


One More Year syndrome is a psychological urge that forces us to work for one more year despite being financially independent and ready for retirement. However, the syndrome can develop into a challenging mindset, one that is difficult to overcome. The mindset is driven by external and internal factors, concerns, and attachments to our identity that make it impossible to stop after working for one more year. Soon, individuals find themselves continuing to work well beyond the one-year claim. 

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the One More Year syndrome. Retirement is a personal journey and one where you have the final say. So make sure to prioritize your financial and emotional well-being and amass enough money to create a financial cushion to ensure the One More Year syndrome doesn’t ever occur. 


What is One More Year syndrome?

One More Year syndrome is an urge to continue working for one more year despite achieving financial independence and being ready for early retirement. It is a harmless psychological condition that might eventually spiral uncontrollably. For example, one year turns to two years, two years turn to five, five years turn to ten, and so on. 

Is retiring early bad for your health?

Retiring early isn’t necessarily bad for your health. Early retirement points to retiring before the retirement age. Retirement is often when we enjoy ourselves, rest, and relax. So, early retirement might speed up cognitive decline in older adults. 

How to overcome the One More Year syndrome?

To overcome the One More Year syndrome, do the following:
Clearly Define Your Financial Goals
Assess Your Financial Situation
Challenge the Fears of Running Out of Money
Redefine Your Identity
Ignore the Social Pressures
Have a Retirement Backup Plan

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