What happens if you have to start retirement earlier than planned?

5 ways to cope with an unexpected retirement

Man reviewing finances on his laptop.

For many people, a retirement plan includes a clear idea of when they want to retire. But an economic downturn, health problems or family needs may trigger an unexpected early retirement. If you're forced to retire earlier than planned, you may be worried about keeping your finances on track. Here are five ways to navigate the unexpected change:

Cut your spending

Review your expenses and look for ways to save. Perhaps you're paying for subscriptions, gym memberships or lawn care services that you could go without. Consider eating in instead of going out or even shopping around for lower prices on internet and phone services.


Trimming unnecessary expenses when faced with forced retirement is a critical first step, but reducing some of your biggest fixed costs, such as housing, can help you close any gaps in your new financial reality. For instance, moving to a smaller house or downsizing from a house to a condo could help reduce or eliminate your monthly mortgage payments, thus freeing up additional funds in your budget.

Consider a new ZIP code

Moving to a different city or state might help lower your overall cost of living. In a more affordable region, you may pay less for housing as well as utilities, groceries and medical care. Make sure to consider the impact moving might have on other aspects of retirement, such as whether you'd have to travel to see family.

Pick up a flexible part-time job

If you're forced into early retirement but can still work, a part-time job can help you stretch your retirement funds. Many retirees enjoy consulting or teaching on the side, while others find the gig economy — working for a ride-sharing or delivery service — provides both income and control over their schedule.

Revisit your vision for retirement

Ultimately you may not be able to make your new budget fit your old vision of retirement. Whether you planned on traveling around the world or relaxing by the beach, take time to revisit the life you want to lead in retirement in light of what you can afford and decide on a new strategy to get there.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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