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How to deal with an early retirement that was not planned

Although most people plan to work until they reach their full retirement age of 66, or 67 if you were born after 1942, some workers find themselves without work at an age when it is challenging to find another job, and at a time when they anticipated earning their maximum salary. Others are compelled to leave the workforce due to illness or family obligations as a caregiver.

According to experts, approximately 45 percent of people retire sooner than they planned. It is smart to have a contingency plan for early retirement.

It may not be feasible to secure a job that pays well, particularly for those in industries that largely depend on contractors. Even though it is illegal for employers to practice age discrimination, several older workers have difficulty finding work. If you are forced to retire early, your best option may be to find new work, even if it is not in your chosen field, and even if the compensation does not approach the amount you are accustomed to earning. Alternatively, you may find it more reasonable to reduce your expenses. Or you may decide to do both.

Another cost-effective measure is to avoid using your Social Security early, even if that means withdrawing funds from your retirement savings. If you claim social security at age 62, your monthly benefit will be 25 percent less than it would have been if you had delayed your retirement until you attained the full retirement age of 66 or 67. And if you wait to retire until you are age 70, you will receive another 32 percent.

Some options to consider if you must retire early are to accept a position that pays a lower salary, work part-time or become a consultant, reduce expenses, apply for unemployment benefits, seek health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange, have your college-age children decrease their expenses and consult a financial adviser.

You may also wish to conduct research of Social Security to make certain that you are collecting the maximum possible amount, continue to network professionally and pursue hobbies that make you happy.

The elder law attorneys at Hook Law Center assist Virginia families with will preparation, trust & estate administration, guardianships and conservatorships, long-term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. To learn more, visit http://www.hooklawcenter.com/ or call 757-399-7506.

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