Covid-19 has left many companies faced with the undesirable prospect of having to lay off many in its workforce. Although this can be financially devastating to younger workers with families, for those only a few years from retirement, it may do nothing more than speed up their plans.
If you find yourself in a position where you may be faced with an early retirement, here are a few things to consider:
- Review your financial plan – Even if you updated your financial plan recently, the time has come to adjust to your new normal. If you have not done a financial plan in a few years, you are long overdue. Sit down with your financial professional, lay out your goals and objectives, and work together to put a plan together that works for your early retirement.
- Apply for Social Security – If you are eligible and your planner agrees the time is right, get your application for your Social Security retirement benefits in right away. It can take up to two months to receive benefits, so if money is tight, this is not something you will want to delay.
- Make sure your budget is updated – If you have been relaxed about spending during your working years, the time to get very clear about your budget is during retirement. Working with your planner to understand what will be coming in and where your spending priorities lie are without a doubt the most important aspect of any good financial plan. Once your budget is complete, don’t put it in a drawer to look at once a year. Use the aid of an app like Mint.com to track your spending and make sure you are living within your means.
- Look for your “second-act” (if that’s your thing) – Often, when retirement is thrust upon us later in life, we may feel that we are too old to start a new job in the rat race we have become accustomed to, despite not yet being ready to retire. In this case, finding a part-time job doing something you really enjoy doing can be the perfect balance of quality of life with financial stability. Perhaps you love to surf and decide that teaching surfing classes to kids would be the perfect second act for you. Maybe golfing is more your speed and you decide to get a part time job as a starter at a local country club who offers a free membership as a perk to employees. If you feel too restless to retire in full, think about what you love to do and make your second act about enjoying that activity while earning a little money along the way.
A surprise retirement may be startling when it hits, but can be a wondrous opportunity to create the life you had been planning for a few years earlier. Follow the steps above and make lemonade out of Covid’s lemons!