How to Cope With an Unexpected or Forced Retirement

Coping With an Unexpected or Forced Retirement

For some, it begins with a conversation with a boss who seems unusually cheerful as he or she highlights the benefits of leaving the company now. For others, it’s the culmination of months or years of fighting to be seen as relevant. No matter how it happens, though, a sudden or forced retirement can upend your life. You may feel depressed or anxious as you contemplate your financial future. And the sudden change can be a significant blow to your self-esteem. Here’s how to get through it.

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Get Expert Advice

People facing an unexpected retirement often spend weeks or months in denial. Don’t do that to yourself. Expert advice now can have long-lasting effects, possibly for the rest of your life. In some cases, your company might not legally be allowed to force you to retire. You’ll also need advice on how the change could affect your retirement fund, and whether you should draw from Social Security now, or wait till later. Schedule an appointment with an attorney and a financial advisor now.

Claim Your Benefits Now

The political uncertainty surrounding Social Security means many retirees don’t think much about it. But Social Security can bring in $1,000 or more dollars a month, depending on your specific benefits. So it’s worth your time to look into whether you need to claim it now, or wait a few years to get greater benefits.

One thing’s for sure: there’s no benefit to waiting to apply for Medicare. Late enrolment can mean costly penalties that you’ll be stuck paying for the rest of the time you spend on Medicare. Ensure you enrol the year you turn 65.

Manage Your Emotions

Most people construct an identity around work. So when you don’t have a job anymore, it’s easy to feel adrift. You might feel less interesting or valuable. And you’ll likely be leaving your home less and getting less socialization. It’s no wonder that so many retirees experience depression and anxiety. Sprinkle in a dose of financial uncertainty, and emotions may be running high. This can have far-reaching effects for your marriage and other relationships.

Don’t shy away from talking to a counselor if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This worthwhile investment in your well-being can help you make your retirement years your best, while helping you keep depression and anxiety at bay.

Get an Emergency Plan in Place

What if you’re entering retirement too early to feel financially secure? There’s no need to panic. Part-time consulting work, online sales, or even a retail job can help you pad your income. There might be other options, too. Maybe you can rent out a room in your home, or downsize. But before you downsize, consider reverse mortgages. These home equity loans offer rapid cash. Unlike traditional home equity loans, though, you don’t have to repay the loan if you comply with its terms and remain in your home. This makes these loans a flexible option for seniors over the age of 62 who own their homes.

Decide What’s Next

Don’t spend all your time in disaster preparedness mode. Retirement doesn’t have to be a crisis. Change your thought process to view it as a chance for a new chapter. Then start thinking about what comes next. No matter how much money you have, a hopeful attitude makes the stress of a big transition more manageable. And when you manage your stress, it’s easier to manage your money, too.