Sunday, November 8, 2009

Freefalling into an unplanned retirement

Finding new jobs these days is tougher than it used to be, AP's Jeannine Aversa reports. But so is one of the alternatives - being forced into an unplanned early retirement. Among the nation's younger than 65-year-olds, anywhere from two to six times more workers are taking that route out of the job market than planned to, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found last spring.

Leaving the workforce sooner than you planned is never easy. You worry more about money, EBRI researchers report. Duh. But a small slew of surveys released in the last few weeks suggests more of us have good reason to worry. MetLife reports that more of us really are trying to live within our means these days. But a good three fourths of us aren't succeeding, says Wells Fargo.

But not saving enough money is only one of three reasons why retiring prematurely fails. Investing your savings unwisely or underestimating what retirement living really costs will sandbag you too. There aren't many roadmaps, I discovered last spring. Basically, you look at your resources and try to use them creatively. Or, you try to find a job, as Newsweek's Linda Stern found more 60-somethings are doing. Some 72 percent of the nation's retirees are planning that now, EBRI calculates, up from 66 percent a year ago.

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