Friday, August 14, 2015

Forced to retire early, what can you do?

I retired early, because I wanted to, but there are many out there who were or will be forced to retire, because of economic or personal reasons. Many  do not have much control over most factors that cause them to retire earlier than planned. Nonetheless, they can take some steps while still employed to minimize the financial consequences of premature retirement.
  • Emergency funds: All workers should have an emergency fund equalling at least three and preferably six months of living expenses. Those who find themselves unexpectedly out of a job can draw from this fund to pay bills and emergency expenses while looking for new work. Having such a fund means premature retirees might not have to tap into Social Security or retirement funds right away and, if they do find work, perhaps not until their planned retirement.
  • Eliminate or reduce debt: Everyone should keep debt to a minimum. It is difficult to take care of day-to-day expenses and credit card or other debts when no money is coming in.
  • Update skills: Employers have reservations about older workers’ flexibility, adaptability and ability to learn new skills and approaches. Voluntarily engaging in training, retraining, lectures, and education programs can help older workers counter these reservations and enhance their value to the business. That could work to their advantage when the employer is determining whom to let go. It can also help workers acquire skills that will aid them in a future job search.
  • Network: While employed, workers should nurture their job contacts as these can prove useful in the event of a job search. 
  • Hone job-seeking skills: Looking for a job today is very different from what it was many years ago. A good strategy for older workers is to keep job-seeking skills up to date by periodically applying and interviewing for jobs. This will put them a step ahead if faced with an unexpected job search. They might also stumble upon a great job opportunity they can’t resist.
Workplace modifications some sites for my American friends:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to consider workplace accommodations or modifications under certain circumstances.
Such changes might make it possible for ill or disabled workers to shift to another job with the same employer or to scale back work hours rather than leave employment.
Action item: Before retiring, workers should discuss these possibilities with the employer. 
Early Retirement Extras for my American Friends
• Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements” provides information and a check list on what to do when an employer offers a waiver agreement. Find it at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at www.
Health Plans& Benefits: Continuation of Health Coverage— COBRA provides helpful information on COBRA. Find it at U.S. Department of Labor website at This website also has a useful “Frequently Asked Questions” on COBRA.
• Resources to help older people search for work may be available at Forty Plus and AARP (
• The U.S. Department of Labor website provides a handy United States map that enables visitors to click on a state to learn about its unemployment benefits program. Find it at:
• The Americans with Disabilities Act website offers a wealth of information about work and disability. Go to:

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