How to Survive a Surprise Early Retirement

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A surprise early retirement is becoming an increasingly common occurrence. The challenging economy has forced many companies to lay off workers. One strategy for cutting back on expenses is to offer early retirement to senior staff members. Being thrown into retirement when you are unprepared can create undue stress and anxiety. Here are a few tips for surviving early retirement.

  • Meet with a financial professional: If you do not already work with a financial planner, there is no better time to start. If you do not have a retirement plan in place, put one together now. If you've already developed a plan, it will need to be reviewed accounting for this change in circumstances.

    Talk to your advisor about Social Security, health insurance, 401k plans, pensions, and severance packages you may have received. Confirm that this is an appropriate time for you to retire at the financial level you envisioned.

  • Define your retirement: If you have not spent any time yet deciding what you want your retirement to be, there is no better time. Do you want to work part time doing something you enjoy? Spend more time with Grandkids? Volunteer with a charity? Play more golf? This is the time to live your life, your way; take some time to figure out exactly what “your way” is.

  • Take some time off: Enjoy some downtime. Go on a vacation or just relax for a few weeks to spend some time mulling over your future. You have embarked on a new stage of life, one that will take you wherever you want it to. Don’t rush to any decisions. Enjoy some time to decompress and think clearly about your future. It is best to make your decisions with a clear head.

  • Communicate with your spouse: Spend some time talking with your spouse about your options and ideas. Make sure you are both on the same page when defining retirement and your future. This journey should be a joint effort.

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