Most of us spend the majority of our lives preparing for the day when we won't have to get up at the crack of dawn and head off to work. Retirement is a goal we all want to reach and some of us are more prepared than others to settle in to the life of our dreams. While the average age for retirement is 66, some people may not wish to wait that long. An early retirement may seem exciting, but it is a step that you want to be absolutely sure you're ready for before you take the plunge. So, how do you know if you're really ready to retire? Here are 6 signs that you are ready for early retirement.

1.) While most people do not relish the idea of working on a job year after year, there is some value to having a job every day. Jobs usually give your life structure and direction, they provide you with the needed cash flow to survive, and they can fill your life with activity that can keep your minds mentally active, emotionally grounded, and financially secure. If don't find much enjoyment in your daily routine, then this could be one of the signs that you are ready for early retirement.

2.) You also need to make sure that you are financially ready for an early retirement. It's true that you may cut some costs by not working but you're also expecting to have more retirement years as well. Are you financially sound enough to set a reasonable budget of living expenses and stick to it for 20 or more years? When you set your budget don't forget to factor in inflation so that you're not cutting yourself short after a few years.

3.) If you retire before age 65 you will also have to factor in health insurance costs into your budget. Unless you have special circumstances, Medicare will not start until you're 65 years or older. Make sure your finances are stable enough to cover unexpected medical expenses.

4.) Make sure that your family is ready for your retirement; those with adult children with special needs or still depending on you will have to be ready to be on their own otherwise you could be putting them in a very difficult situation.

5.) You also need to make sure that you've cleared your debt. If you still owe on your home or have major credit card debt this could easily suck up much of your retirement savings. If you're in debt then it may be best to pay it off before you give up your regular income.

6.) Most people accumulate their retirement savings through investments and after retirement you'll probably want to continue exercising your investment options. If your portfolio is solid and diversified enough that it can stand a few setbacks if something were to go wrong then you may be ready to take the step towards early retirement.

Retirement planning is not always easy; there are many factors to take into consideration so if you want to go for early retirement it may be necessary for you to double up on your efforts well in advance of expected date. This way you'll be ready to start your retirement life early and can avoid any unpleasant surprises when you do. Carefully consider these 6 signs that you are ready for early retirement and decide if you're really ready to live life totally on your own.