Forced Early Retirement


Grandma Moses

Perhaps a future retiree finds themselves to be a late bloomer like Grandma Moses. Due to rapidly changing economic paradigms and or health related issues many workers may be forced to leave the work force sooner than expected. Unfortunately many Americans will be forced into early retirement for reasons beyond ones control. Ones forced early retirement age may turn out to be 50, 55, 60, 65, or anywhere in between. How then does a future retire ensure they will outlive their money?

Common reasons sited for forced early retirement are:

A once in-demand skill set is no longer marketable

One experiences a layoff late in one’s career

One incurs a disability

Caregiving responsibilities

Common types of work available to fifty plus workers

Personal and home-care aides
Personal financial advisers
Social and community service managers
Miscellaneous entertainment attendants
Surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists
Environmental scientists and geoscientists
Registered nurses
Animal trainers
Instructional coordinators
Locksmiths and safe repairers
Postsecondary teachers
Archivists, curators, and museum technicians
Social workers
Management analysts
Business operation specialists
Brokerage clerks
Religious workers

Source: Urban Institute

It is always a good strategy to have a back –up plan in place in the event one faces early retirement and have concerns regarding out living one’s money. The typical types of employment available to forced early retirees could be less than desirable perhaps even demeaning. Depending on one’s situation going into the office, performing manual or physically demanding work may not be a viable option. The ability to write one’s own ticket and peruse one’s passion all throughout retirement is recommended. All that is required is planning.

Creative work serves as an insurance policy for those who may find they want or need informal income in retirement. When feasible performing creative work as a second job grows a bigger nest egg and ensures healthier streams of informal income quicker in retirement. Effective transition to creative work helps ensure individuals will outlive their money.

Retirees performing creative work recognize their lives are changing and they are committed to growing once again. They’ve found or reconnected with their muse or passion. Likely they were forced to ignore their passion (muse) when they were younger in favor of something more practical. Perhaps their muse is simply something fun they enjoy doing; involves meeting new people, traveling, helping others, performing, or they utilize their unique creative abilities while earning extra money. They all capitalize on their creativity!

“When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” Linda Naiman

Creative retirees understand growing old is not always an easy road. This is precisely why they are keeping mentally active, vibrant, and genuinely excited to see who they will become! Retirees have proven successful with creative lifestyles, creative jobs, creative businesses, creative artistic expression, creative hobbies, creative personal expression, arts and crafts, and more. This is due in part to the fact they finally have or can create the time needed to devote to their passion. They also possess a lifetime of experience, growth, and wisdom. As more future retirees anticipate and actually wrap up their years of service in their careers, moving into retirement, they get tofind their passion again. Most have plenty of energy left for something that is meaningful and satisfying.

Some would argue retirement is meaningless if they are just going to keep working anyway. I assert that retirement has exceptional meaning if you plan purposefully for it.

The following work transition strategy is recommended:

* Make yourself indispensible at your current job/career – get involved in new company

initiatives, volunteer for the things others won’t.

* Get to really know your competition, get contacts info and their roles & responsibilities.

* Network within your industry and identify future remote work prospects.

* Find Your Muse and make it your life’s work allthroughout retirement.

The speed of which these stages of work unfold is best determined by your aversion to risk. In the event you are risk adverse then you benefit staying in your job/career as long as humanly possible, then going to work for the competition for a year or two maybe longer, then performing remote work for a year or two maybe longer, and then begin performing creative work. Please be realistic regarding your shelf life in each stage of your work.

In the event you are more prone to taking risks then you might well speed up this transition to eventually performing creative work. Either way I assert that there is no real significant difference in compensation with traditional work vs. creative work. The day you stop working remotely you will experience a pay cut. After that the income you receive will be similar from traditional or creative work. One significant difference is that creative work will not be demeaning or boring. Creative work will enable you to fully develop yourself. Creative work is the secret to maintaining mental flexibility. Mental stagnation or rigidness (old dogs can’t learn new tricks) is the Kryptonite of older age. Creative work also helps you to stay healthy, maintain a routine, make new friends, and develop new interests.


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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