Sunday, June 10, 2012

No Choice But Early Social Security

Many people have spent decades working hard and carefully planning for their retirement years.  Often they have held responsible jobs, paid into Social Security, had a pension or a 401K, and taken other steps to assure themselves that they could spend their retirement years painting, traveling or doing whatever they want.

What If You Are Forced Into Early Retirement?

When the Great Recession came along, many Baby Boomers lost their jobs; they spent their savings in order to survive; they lost much of the equity in their homes, and perhaps even lost their homes, too.  In far too many cases, their only choice was to begin collecting Social Security at age 62 instead of being able to wait until they turned 66, 67 or, even better, age 70.

In the blog post, Lies and Liars: The Retirement Lie, you can read the story of Ms. Clare Keany, a resident of Palm Springs who shared her personal situation in a New York Times story called "Forced to Early Social Security, Unemployed Pay a Steep Price."  Ms. Keany felt disappointed and discouraged when she shared her story.  She believed she tried to do everything right, and was cast aside when the recession hit and she lost her job.  She went through her savings and is now struggling to get by on a below average amount of Social Security.

Ms. Keany is not the only one who feels this way.  Many Baby Boomers have been put between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Often they feel that they did everything that was expected of them, and they still will not be able to have the comfortable retirement they had planned.

Issues Faced By Millions of Baby Boomers 

When people are in their late 50's or their 60's, it can be very difficult to recover from an economic setback. Here are some of the issues that they sometimes face:

*  It is sometimes more difficult for Baby Boomers to find new employment than it is for younger adults.
*  They tend to remain on unemployment much longer. 

*  Once they run out of unemployment benefits, many unemployed Baby Boomers feel they have no other alternative than to begin collecting their Social Security benefits early.  The unfortunate consequence of this is that their benefits will be permanently reduced by about 20% or more.

You May be Able to Turn Things Around

If you are one of those retirees who has been forced into early retirement, you may feel that you are doomed to spend the rest of your life in poverty.  While this may be very discouraging, there are a few things that you can do to improve your situation:

*  Even though you are already collecting your Social Security benefits, you can still work part-time.  Once you have reached full retirement age, you can even work full time and receive no decrease in your retirement income.  Millions of Baby Boomers have found it helpful and rewarding to go back to work in their retirement years.  Don't pass up an opportunity to go back to work, even if you are already collection your Social Security benefits.

*  Your Social Security benefits, even if they are small, may allow you to have enough of a basic income that you can try other occupations that you never thought were possible when you were younger ... working for a non-profit, selling your artwork, baby-sitting, or trying an entirely new career.

*  If your income is low, you may discover that you are entitled to other benefits that you may not have considered.  Talk to both your local Social Security office and social services department to find out if you are eligible for SSI (Supplemental Insurance Income), food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, financial aid to cover your Medicare premiums, or similar programs.  Do not be embarrassed to accept this extra assistance.  You have contributed to these programs all your life and now there is no reason to hesitate to use them.

With a little patience and creativity, you can recover from a forced early retirement. 

If you are looking for more assistance with your retirement planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial help, medical issues that can arise, changing family relationships and more.

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  1. Thanks for pointing out this problem. I'm looking forward to visiting Lies and Liars. This sounds like a very intriguing blog.

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, as always. I hope you find Lies and Liars to be enjoyable, as well!


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