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Advice for when you lose your job and forced into early retirement

If your retirement plans did not necessarily include early retirement, but you received a termination letter, you’re not alone. Workers nearing retirement and getting laid off unexpectedly has become more and more commonplace. Regardless of whether your early retirement is a result of corporate downsizing, redundancy cut-backs, health problems, or family reasons—it’s time to make a new plan or adjust your original retirement plan. If you choose to accept early retirement instead of finding a new job and creating a new source of income, here is a strategy to help you move forward with a happy retirement.


Do take full account of your assets

Taking an accurate accounting of your monthly income and other assets at their present value is a great way to start. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or a napkin—just do your best to make sure the list is complete and accurate.

Do take full account of your liabilities

Knowing what you owe and where your money goes each month is the second step. Take your time on this one. This way you will have good basis for comparison to your assets.

Do make an estimation of how long your money will last

Are you younger than 65? Once you know how much you need to stay afloat, you will need to calculate how long your money will last if you do nothing. Of course, supplementing your income with part time work, or making investment choices are options that are available, but it is important to know how long you can last with no changes at all.

Do remember to adjust for inflation has a powerful calculator that will help you see what the future value of your money is in 0-45 years. Inflation will take a bite out of your savings and it is important to account for that amount carefully.

Do seek the advice of a Certified Financial Planner

Your CFP can provide asset management strategies that may help bridge the gap between your planned-for retirement date, and your current retirement date. There are many choices that can be made with respect to your Social Security start date, home equity, financial products, and other income sources. A financial planner can work with what you have to create retirement income. Finally, a Certified Financial Planner can help you stick to your plans and goals for the long term, and a happy retirement.


Do not forget to address your health care coverage

This is the area of your greatest exposure after retirement age. Understanding how you will address your health care and long term care needs in retirement provides peace of mind.

Do not live extravagantly

Seek ways to minimize expenses—within reason, of course. Evaluate need vs. want; necessary vs. unnecessary; important vs. unimportant—all into your budget. Some belt tightening may be in order, especially if you don’t find another source of income.

Do not forget to change your budget

If you’re not working anymore, your budget (from when you were working) must change. Many expenses go down drastically when you no longer need to report to a job each day. Your necessary (fixed) expenses will not go away, but controlling them gives you the opportunity to stretch your dollars for the more enjoyable parts of retirement, like travel or hobbies.

Do not make emotionally-driven decisions

Changing retirement dates mid-stream is a stress-inducing endeavor. Try to take a step back from the reason for the change (health, downsizing, etc.) before you set anything in stone. Having your list of assets and liabilities available, and using your financial advisor, will help you make better long-term decisions.

Do not panic

An unexpected change such as this can be frightening as you are faced with a major event that wasn’t a part of the plan. However, with some new planning, strategic thinking, and some sound financial advice, you can have the happy retirement that you deserve.

Jumping cartoon

An unexpected retirement after being forced out of your job can be unsettling, but it’s not impossible to remedy. If you have prepared as best you could for your planned retirement date, you will have some assets to work with to create a steady retirement income. If you are at a loss of what to do, contact a financial planner now, and figure out a plan that will work best for you and your family.

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Keith Klein, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL®Registered Financial Advisor

After more than 15 years as a financial service advisor, Keith Klein CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL® reached his own Turning Pointe and founded Turning Pointe Wealth Management. It had become clear that the best way for Keith to provide unbiased soluti...

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