During the Great Recession of 2008, many people were forced into early retirement.
Panic is usually the first feeling that sets it when you lose your job. Yes, being forced into early retirement may seem like “the end of the world,” but it doesn’t have to be.
When being forced into early retirement, you will be required to sign a number of important documents. Never agree to retirement without first learning about your company’s rules, restrictions, and attached strings. Will you receive a severance package? Does that severance package eliminate your pension or eliminate you from receiving any other important employee benefits? If so, talk to a financial advisor right away, particularly before you sign anything. Determine what your best course of action is. Is it better to take the severance pay or receive all of your benefits?
Speaking of talking to a financial advisor, you should take this step anyways. Early retirement can throw a wrench into your plans. You may need professional assistance to get those plans fixed and back on track. A financial advisor can examine your retirement wants and needs, determining an estimated figure that you need to comfortably retire. Next, a financial advisor can help you come up with a plan of action to get those needed funds.
In the event that you opt for a severance package, do not spend that money right away. Unfortunately, many forced into retirement make this mistake. If you are living day-to-day, use your money to pay for your necessities, such as food and shelter, but nothing else. If you have “extra,” money, deposit it into a savings account or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Doing so may increase your money, based on interest rates and tax benefits.
It is also important to remember that social security benefits come with rules and restrictions. Just because you are forced to retire early, it doesn’t meant that you qualify to receive social security yet. That is why you are encouraged to take action and right away. Should you qualify for early social security benefits, due to your age, know that the amount you receive overtime may be smaller than what you intended to live on.
Most importantly, remember that being forced into early retirement doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop working. If you are asked to retire a few years earlier than planned, you may be unable to do so financially. Will your money run out too soon? If so, working may be your only option.
Before leaving your current job and accepting your company’s early retirement package, examine your health insurance. Regardless of your age, you should never be left without health insurance. Depending on your age and your financial standing, you may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. However, do not leave your job without knowing. COBRA will leave you protected for 18 months, but you should have another plan. If you start working again, you may be able to get health insurance coverage through your new employer after 90 days.
If you haven’t been forced into retirement, it is an event that you should still plan for. Many companies are finding themselves losing money. For that reason, they are offering early retirement packages to many of their long-term workers, particularly those that are close to the retirement age. With that in mind, just because you are close to the retirement age, it doesn’t mean that you are ready for it. Even if you are only twenty or thirty years old, please know there is a chance you could be forced into early retirement down the road. That is why it is imperative that you start saving for retirement now, as you never know what the future holds.