Common Causes Of Forced Early Retirement

Written by Joel Dodds

For some of us, retiring early is the dream. For others, there’s no choice in the matter – they have to retire, and the situation is beyond their control.

Statistics found that the average person in the US will retire aged 66, but it’s worth remembering that your retirement age isn’t always something you can predict. Some of the most common causes of forced early retirement include:

1.       Layoffs

You might think that as an older worker who has shown loyalty to the business you work for, you’ll be exempt from company layoffs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Older employees tend to actually be the first to be hit when redundancy strikes – and it’s much more difficult for you to land another full-time job after that. Retiring early might be your only option.

2.       Poor health

Illnesses can arise at any time, but they’re far more likely to come about as you get older. Health problems like cancer, heart disease, and musculoskeletal disorders can all force you into early retirement. You may also experience COPD as a result of working in certain environments, or from your own personal habits. You can learn more about the lung condition in the Sensoronics guide on COPD.

3.       Family commitments

For most of us, family comes before everything. That may mean that you’re forced to take early retirement in order to look after a sick family member, or someone who needs round-the-clock care. In this case, you may receive benefits from the government to see you through – but for many people, early retirement is the simpler solution.

4.       Job dissatisfaction

If you were really hoping you’d be able to stick out your job until retirement, this might not be possible if you hate what you do. A Gallup poll found that 50% of workers in the US are non-engaged, while 20% are actively disengaged in their jobs. Job dissatisfaction can arise for a number of personal reasons, and working in the same job for too long is one of them. You may feel forced to take early retirement for the sake of your mental health.

What to Do if You’re Forced into Retirement

As the above factors are largely out of your control, it’s important to make sure you have a solid retirement plan in place from as young an age as possible. You simply never know when an incident may arise that will force you into early retirement.

If you’ve recently retired for reasons beyond your control, there’s usually no need to panic. You’ll just need to immediately adjust your spending habits to account for your lack of income. Consider your mortgage, your car payments, the luxuries you treat yourself to. It may be that you need to minimize these costs where you can to continue to live comfortably.

If you can help it, you should also avoid taking your money out of your retirement plan too soon. It’s likely that you’ll be able to get through a short-term financial crisis without needing to withdraw everything you’ve saved so far. 

The Pros and Cons of Paying off Your Mortgage Before Retirement


Written by Rachel B.

Your home is likely your largest asset, so it’s natural for you to want to pay off your mortgage before retirement. However, whether or not this is financially feasible will depend on a variety of factors, such as your timeline for retirement, current savings, financial goals, and spending habits.

While paying off your home pre-retirement may seem ideal, carrying your mortgage into retirement may not be a bad idea, especially if you’re making enough to cover the monthly payments. However you should assess your current financial situation and weigh the pros and cons of each option before making any decisions. To help, here’s a breakdown of your options:

The Pros of Paying Off Your Mortgage

Getting rid of your greatest monthly expense can free up cash flow to support other financial ventures and cover living expenses in retirement, which could be especially helpful when you exit the workforce and are living on a lower, fixed income. Paying down your mortgage early can also save you from paying interest over time, offering cost savings in the long-run.

In general, it makes sense to pay off your mortgage early if you have built up enough savings to adequately support your post-retirement needs, such as medical and living expenses. However, you should remember you’ll likely spend more once you have more free time in retirement, so it’s also important to factor in additional spending before deciding whether you’re able to pay off or pay down your mortgage.

If you were to carry your mortgage into retirement, it would only make sense to invest in opportunities if they offered a rate of return that exceeded your mortgage interest. Whereas, if you were to prepay your mortgage, you could begin funneling your money into other financial ventures and low-risk investments, such as treasury securities and bank-insured certificate of deposits, which are guaranteed to yield higher returns once they reach maturity.

If you have accrued enough equity in your home, but lack sufficient retirement savings to pay off your mortgage in-full, you may want to consider alternatives like only paying down a lump sum of the principle or refinancing your mortgage. By refinancing, you may still be able lower your monthly payments and interest rate, or even change your loan type, to help ease financial burden.

The Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage

Depending on your circumstances, there may be drawbacks to paying off your mortgage before retirement. According to Consumer Reports, many financial advisors advise against prepaying your mortgage for a variety of reasons. For one, using excess cash to pay off your mortgage

leaves you with less cash to put toward living expenses and potential investment opportunities. Dipping too far into your personal and retirement savings can also put you in a tight spot as it can inhibit your ability to save for retirement, college, unplanned expenses, or any other major purchase.

In addition, by prepaying your mortgage, you’ll lose out on the mortgage interest deduction, which means you won’t be able to deduct mortgage interest on your tax return. This may bump you into a higher tax bracket. For many homeowners, the ability to deduct mortgage interest plays an important role in their overall financial and tax strategies, so you may want to consider whether or not you’ll still be able to itemize your deductions, even without mortgage interest.

You should also consider the opportunity cost of putting money toward your mortgage rather than other outstanding debts. In some cases, it may make more sense for you to reap the tax benefits of adding to your retirement plan or paying down debts that may have higher interest rates, such as credit card bills, student loans, and car loans.

Your current life stage can also impact your decision to pay off your mortgage. If you’re nearing retirement, you may want to be more conservative with your money. Instead of taking unnecessary risks by investing in the market, you may want to keep your mortgage instead. That way, you know you’re locked in on a set interest rate and monthly payment without needing to make risky investments.

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As you weigh your options, it’s important to be realistic about what you can and can’t afford. By setting reasonable expectations and discussing your options with a financial advisor, you’ll ensure you make the best choices based on your financial circumstances.

Perfecting Retirement

When I initially retired my head was full of optimistic visions and pleasant expectations along with perhaps a small dash of fear regarding how the rest of my life was going to play out. I looked forward to pursuing that list of things I always wanted but was not sure I had enough to fill 20 or 30 or more years. Now entering year eight of retired life I think I understand myself a bit better. With some effort and a little luck I have been able to define a retirement program that works best for me – at least to this point.

I have always been a lover of books and retirement provides me guilt free hours to peruse whatever subject interests me at the moment. I keep five or six books stacked in the corner of our two-seat rocker for easy access during the day. Since I never know what will pique my interest du jour I maintain a potpourri ranging from history to adventure to Stephen King to theology. The perfect reading experience finds me switching from one to the next as what entertains me is dynamic and shifts.

Reading at night is an important part of the regimen. I prefer holding a real book and turning pages so rarely use a Kindle. But it can be challenging to find proper illumination for my old peepers. I recently discovered the BenQ e-Reading Lamp a multi-adjustable dimmable lamp that does the trick. It lights up my pages and with the intensity adjustment is easy on my eyes. The only challenge it works so well my wife has confiscated it for her jigsaw puzzling. Apparently the natural light helps her see the true color of pieces which typically becomes difficult as it gets dark. You can check it out on Amazon if reading or puzzling is your thing.

A few years into retirement having workied through my to-do list and read to my heart’s content I realized I would need more to occupy my days. Golf is not my thing. I have yet to find the right volunteer opportunity although I have joined a few community efforts. A portion of my day goes to exercise, gardening, hiking, playing the piano, and futzing around the house. But it was not enough. I hoped to avoid the situation of a fellow retiree who left his job five years ago and is now like a caged tiger pacing endlessly while looking for something – anything – to do.

So I began to investigate possible part time opportunities in the area. Ideally I wanted nothing stressful, no more than three or four days a week for about five hours a shift. I was incredibly fortunate to find the perfect gig pouring wine at a small tasting room within walking distance of home. I love working with my boss, meeting new people and sharing great wine. Unfortunately after two and a half years the winery is closing down – now what? 

I need to do something. There are other tasting rooms – lots – in the area but what I found at Mercy was almost too good to hope for again. Still, I plan to do some research to see if I might find another. Where we live tourism and hospitality are the main industries. If the tasting room doesn’t work out I am not sure where else I might end up. Stay tuned for updates.

A few years back we inherited a dog from a friend of our son. My wife and I discussed possibly adding a hund down the road but when this particular opportunity knocked (or barked as it were) we answered. Frank the Boston Terrier has been a welcome addition to our family. Where we live dogs are as numerous as leaves on a tree. Everyone has one or more and local establishments are dog-friendly to a fault. Frank is a never ending source of energy as he chases the ball to the point of exhaustion (his as well as mine). And his unconditional welcome of love whenever we come home is something we look forward to. There is never a dull moment when Frank is on duty.

So a typical retirement day for Dave looks like this: up about 7:00 for breakfast and throwing the ball for Frank-the-dog during which time I sneak in some stretching; select a book from the stack for a bit of reading; head out for a walk on the beach or hike at the club or workout; back for a late morning feeding (me not Frank); walk to the tasting room where I pour for my five hour shift swapping tales with my boss and reading between tasters; home for a glass of wine before dinner (my kind of homework); dinner; catch up on the current choice of sitcom/series on TV (we dropped cable some months ago so are more selective with what we watch while paying $150 less per month); to bed for a little reading then sleep.

My wife retired a few years after me. She found it a bit challenging shifting from full-time-all-the-time to down time. It quickly became apparent that keeping engaged and socially active was essential to her sanity. So after six months doing “nothing” she temped part time at a local law firm. A little work mixed in with fun proved the right combination. Her typical day looks like this: up around 6:00; jigsaw puzzle for an hour (no less than 1000 pieces considered); cup of tea and newspaper which includes daily Sudoku puzzle; off to yoga/barre/pilates class; on to work until 5:30; home and dinner and recreational TV (she typically does something while watching the tube like knitting or catching up on internet news); to bed for reading of her latest book. The missus, not one to sit still for long, recently joined the Board of Directors for a local non-profit where she can deploy her super attention to detail and hang out with some neat people.

For us successful retirement requires we stay busy, keep moving, keep our brain challenged, keep the body as fit as possible (getting harder by the day), and make the most of our freedom. We have learned to appreciate quiet moments and down time, to recharge and go with the flow. We look for a balance between activity and rest, on and off, busy and not so busy. We try to pay attention – you never know what may be out there that is a perfect fit for your interests and skills. And just enjoy – after all that’s what retirement is all about, right?