Real Life Retirement:  what real people are doing after age 55 


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Early Retirement: Prepare for the Unexpected

 Permanent vacation--that's the goal of many people who are considering early retirement.   Time to travel.  Time to spend with family and friends.  Time to follow up on personal interests, whatever they may be.  And plenty of income with no money worries.

It is the "no money worries" part that sometimes creates unpleasant surprises for early retirees.  (And by early retirees we mean people who retire in their fifties.)  

Creeping (or galloping) inflation can crimp your style

One issue to keep in mind if you are retiring early is that in the next 15-18 years the cost of everything will double.   That has been the pattern for decades and is not likely to change anytime soon.   So what may seem to be ample funds for your lifestyle at 55, may be far too little money at 65 or 70.   

Staggering health insurance costs for early retirees 

Be prepared to spend a significant amount every month for health insurance until you are age 65 when you can sign up for Medicare and Medigap insurance.  Some early retirees have taken part time jobs just for the health care benefits.  The federal affordable health care act, commonly called Obamacare, may help lower health insurance costs of early retirees, but that is not entirely clear yet.

Too bored for words

After a couple of years of travel and seemingly endless hours and days for personal interests, it is not unusual for early retirees to find themselves missing the challenges of the work world.  They miss the workplace camaraderie and social network not to mention the respect an early retiree commanded in his/her last job.  One solution: go back to work.    

A Real Life Retirement:

A stock broker, Elaine, retired in her mid-fifties and decided she wanted travel to be her new Number One Priority.  She contacted several airlines and one of them hired her for their security department as a wand lady--the person that uses a detection wand on people going through airport security.  The pay was abysmal but the incredibly cheap travel was fabulous!  

In the training classes she found out that she was only one among many retirees who wanted a job with the airlines for the travel benefits.  Better yet, Elaine got health insurance benefits--a big issue with early retirees.  Because she was an empty nester, she was more than willing to work the 5 p.m. to midnight shift.  "Better than 20 years of getting up at 4 a.m. as a stockbroker," she said.  TSA now handles most of this security work, but  Elaine moved up to being a reservation agent--still working the evening shift.  Still flying all over the planet.

Or visit our Retirement Fun page for other ideas.

For  information about abrupt retirement vs. gradual retirement, go here.

NOTE:  All names on this site have been changed to protect individual privacy.  The stories are real, the names are not. 

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The percentage Social Security currently reduces benefits for people who retire at 62 instead of their full retirement age.



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