Monday, September 3, 2012

How to Deal with Forced Early Retirement

retirementretirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)Being laid off a decade or a few years before you expected to retire can be devastating. According to The New York Times, jobseekers between the ages of 50 and 65 are about half as likely to be hired as younger workers. The Great Recession has forced many into early retirement, and, unfortunately, the financial strain of early retirement can be severe. If you've been forced to retire sooner than you expected, there are a few things you can do to stay financially afloat and avoid feeling defeated. Here are some ways you can proactively deal with unexpected retirement: 

1. Evaluate your expenses and the money available to you

Figure out how much you have in savings, how much pension money you're receiving, and how much Social Security money you're able to receive each month. Then calculate your monthly expenses and create a budget that will allow you to sustain yourself financially for the next few decades.

You can use an online retirement calculator like the one provided by U.S. News and World Report to help you figure out how long the money you currently have access to will last. If you discover that the funds available to you won't help you sustain a comfortable lifestyle for very long, you'll need to assess how you can cut costs and possibly bring some extra money in. Keep in mind that you'll be financially penalized for taking money out of your 401K account if you're under 59 ½, and you'll receive the highest monthly Social Security payment if you wait to sign up for Social Security until you're 70. 

2. Explore all your possible job options

Even if you can't get a job that's comparable in pay to your most recent one, and even if you're only able to work part-time, getting any kind of job will help you improve your financial situation. Additionally, working somewhere for a certain number of hours a week will give you the feeling of purpose you might miss, and it will help you network with people who may be able to help you find a more profitable job. Don't rule out jobs in retail or clerical positions. If you have an advanced degree, consider teaching a class at your local community college. If you're an expert in your field, offer consulting services to people you know. Unfortunately, in this economy, it's just not practical to limit yourself to finding a position just like the one you lost. You may find that whatever job you do end up with is enjoyable. So, edit your résumé, hit the pavement, and don't give up until you find a paying gig. 

3. Enjoy the extra free time

You probably worked full-time for the bulk of your life. Now that you're retired or working fewer hours, you may feel as though you don't really know what to do with yourself. Many retirees become depressed when they stop working full-time. As much as possible, you should try to focus on the positive side of being retired. Take afternoon naps, sign up for some online classes, learn French, paint, sit on your porch with your spouse and watch the sunrise. Do things you like to do but never had time to do before. Learning about new things and enjoying your favorite hobbies will give you a much-needed break from some of the more stressful aspects of early retirement.

Having to retire sooner than expected can be stressful, depressing, and financially draining. How you react to early retirement will determine how much it negatively impacts your life. So, budget appropriately, look for a part-time job, try to stay positive, and don't be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends if you're in need.

Barbara Jolie is a full time freelance writer and blogger. She is passionate about lifelong learning and online education. When Barbara is not blogging about all things education, she enjoys spending time with her calico cat, Moses, and her pet parakeet. If you have questions email her at

1 comment:

  1. Planning for your retirement is nothing to do in the eleventh hour. I suggest that from the very first day when an individual starts his/her career they should start planning about it and not just Retirement Savings Calculator should be done accurately.


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