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Laid off right before retirement? Here’s what to do next

Ebony Williams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Senior Living Features

No one wants to get laid off, let alone five years shy of retirement.

According to a study by ProPublica and the Urban Institute, around 56% of workers over age 50 are let go from a job at least once.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are steps you can take while waiting for retirement age. According to Forbes, here are four things to do if you’re laid off before the age of 60.

Budget

This is a great time to reevaluate your budget by checking your savings account(s), 401K and other retirement plans against expenses. Understanding your current financial situation can help you determine what to do next. If you’ve invested in a company 401K, your vested income should be deposited into your bank account within 30 days. If you’d rather it roll over to another retirement option, you have to contact your retirement provider or former employer for the next steps.

File for unemployment benefits

After assessing your budget, file for unemployment. Keep in mind that unemployment checks might be modest or lower than what you were making. Unemployment benefits can help keep you afloat while you create a plan for what’s next.

“This gives you a timeline to find another job or another source of income,” Brandon Robinson, founder of JBR Associates in Plano, Texas, told U.S New and World Report in an email. “If you’re within five years of retirement, you cannot take a big hit on your current retirement savings.”

 

Leverage your experience

If you’re wanting to be in the workforce, now is the perfect time for rebranding. Apply for more jobs and reposition your LinkedIn or other professional job board resume to highlight your accumulated experience. While being let go early is an awful experience, over the course of your career you have a lot to offer that other companies can benefit from — or start a consulting business.

“This includes experience, contacts, industry knowledge, secrets of the trade, and more. Leveraging these insights can lead to a career in a different job function within the same field” Forbes wrote.

Expedite retirement

If your retirement plans involve relocating, accelerating your plans a few years early can still make retirement possible and fun. Going ahead with retirement after being laid off can help your financial situation, especially if the relocation plans involve moving to a more cost-friendly environment.

“It’s advisable to meet with your financial advisor and accountant to help run the numbers and have a conversation about the impact of such a decision,” Forbes wrote.


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