Most people imagine retirement as a bittersweet, voluntary entry into elderly age, hobbies, and relaxation. However, retirement in the real world has no resemblance to the way it is depicted in TV, movies, and popular culture. If anything, retirement can be a stress-inducing and difficult life transition. It can be difficult for retirees to suddenly switch from decades of working in a life-affirming career to a full-stop and begin doing a lot of nothing. It’s worse for people facing the aftermath of forced retirement, which is something I recently watched my uncle go through.
Forced Retirement Statistics
A recent research study conducted by Voya Financial revealed that more than 60% of American retirees stopped working earlier than they originally planned.
Or worse, retirees were involuntarily forced to retire.
In fact, more than 33% of retirees had to retire involuntarily.
About 16% of retirees had to leave work because of health problems.
Well over 11% of retirees were fired or forced to retire.
Over 6% of retirees left the workforce because of advancing age or to care for an ailing spouse.
If you or someone you know was forced into retirement, like my uncle, you have options.
A forced retirement does not necessarily mean the end of working life or life in general. Here’s what you can do.
Estimate Your Current Savings
My uncle took it hard when he was forced to retire.
I told my uncle to take a hard look at his savings. It’s important to know how much money is available on hand until things get better.
Reentering the workforce at retirement age is not easy. It is essential to know what kind of financial buffer one has before trying to find work.
Retirees may have to acquire new skills and training to get new work.
Consult with a financial advisor to determine how long your current savings may last you.
Then, create a budget based on your savings. Try to learn how to make every penny last longer than before.
Apply For Social Security
As I advised my uncle, people can apply for Social Security benefits at the age of 62.
Actually, you can apply for Social Security about three months before turning 62.
Social Security offers modest supplemental income, but every new dollar helps.
The average annual Social Security payout is $33,000. However, how much you ultimately receive from Social Security receive depends on your age and work history.
Make use of your prior skills and employment history and look for part-time work.
Retirees have a lifetime of experience that they can leverage into part-time or full-time consultation work.
Become a consultant. Teach part-time. Find some kind of work to keep yourself motivated and busy.
A lot of people gain full-time work by starting as part-time employees.
Use your decades of prior work experience to start out. Remember progress is a slow process.
Keep Depression At Bay
My advice to my uncle was to find part-time work or even volunteer, just to stay active. This is also important to maintain a sense of identity.
No one appreciates how much their identity and sense of self is tethered to their career or occupation until they hit senior citizen status and are forced to retire.
We all derive identity and purpose for being from our work. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work for decades and then one day just stop.
Many retirees have a hard time just hanging out at home and indulging in hobbies.
Depression and anxiety can adversely affect many retirees who just can’t cope with the life transition of retirement, forced or otherwise.
Talk to a mental health professional if necessary. And don’t view retiree as the end of working life, but a new chapter of life.
Forced Retirement Must Be Viewed as a Life Transition
Many retirees can’t afford to travel the world and indulge in hobbies full-time.
Too many don’t have enough money saved and must reenter the workforce after retirement.
If you have been forced to retire, consult a financial advisor.
Carefully think about how you will fund your standard of living.
Whether voluntary or forced, retirement is a life transition, not an end to life.
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