Problems of Early Retirement

This page is about the Problems of Early Retirement - written by real retirees who have retired early, then asked "Now What?"

If you are considering Early Retirement, perhaps something another retiree says will impact your own plans.

Think about your life after early retirement BEFORE you jump, not after...

I hope these stories will help you sort out your own retirement problems and find a tidbit of retiree wisdom that simply hits your core and helps you immensely!

If you have your own Early Retirement story to add, please add your story here to ask for help or to help and encourage others.


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Early Retirement - What Now?

by Patricia
( New York)

I am 56 and worked for a utility for 22 years. I had planned on working until 60 with 26 years which would give me a good retirement.

With layoffs and rumors, the Union was given the option of an early retirement package and my first thought was "I want this but didn't know if I could afford to" so I decided to check things out.

Boy, this is what I thought about for years leaving this boring, high drama clerical job to do what "I WANTED" and be FREE.

I had a back injury back in 1994 and have had a workman comp case. I had 2 surgeries back in the early 2000's and had been doing pretty good until 2008. I went back to my doctor and had a test that things looked good and then I continued working sitting all the time.

In early 2009 my back continued to hurt so I asked the company to provide me an ergonomics setup and they never did it.. it was still in the works according to them when this early retirement package was provided.

I decided to check with my doctor on my back and you know how long that takes. I didn't have time for all the facts to come in for my back to make a good decision on my retirement to take it or wait. Between my lack of information on my back, the added rumors of my job going away, all the employee drama I decided to take the little pay and run for it.

I contacted a financial advisor and sent him all my information and he called and said that I should be able to do it but take some of my 401 K money each month. Oh boy - the green light to go! I did it and after I left.

I missed the people, worried all the time over money. My husband was always upset - why did you retire and now you have to worry all the time about money "I don't want to hear it".

Just the time I was to leave the union told us that our retiree health insurance was going up 2/3 which is about a quarter of my monthly pay so that didn't help my money woos.

I went back to my back doctor and he found that I have a crack in my spine and now I will have to go to pain management and therapy. I went to my daughter's house to get away and while there I got a bad sinus infection and is now on antibotics.

Please tell me someone that life will get better and that we can enjoy living on less. I will be doing research on this to dig myself out of this pity party and saddness that I am in....

  • Wendy: It's not just you, even if everything was perfect, you might feel this way...

    Retirement SOUNDS great, when its far away.
    Then you retire and WHOOPS, what happened?

    I hope you find your way.. it does get better!

    p.s. Tell your husband to stop picking on you... or I'll cyber-punch him one.. grin!

  • Early retirement blues...

    by: Anonymous

    Anxiety, depression, can't eat. I was laid off from government job after 19 years, forced to take early retirement to get by. I'm really scared.

    its been a year now and its all i can do to get out of bed in the mornings. I have panic attacks as soon as i open my eyes in the morning.

    Ive lost all interest in things that used to give me pleasure.


    Wendy: PLEASE write to me personally using the "contact me" on the bottom left. A year is far too long to still be feeling like this... maybe we can email a bit and figure out your future together?

  • I understand...

    by: Sue

    Hi I'm 62 and retired 5 years....just sitting here feeling sorry for myself as usual wondering if anyone else out there is feeling like me.

    Found this site - wonderful. Something to get into.

    I had a great job and worked most of my life. I was kind of "forced" out a bit early so no chance in getting any hobbies ready for the transition which was my plan; although all my life I had been trying different things like: golf(yuck), knitting, painting, all sorts of sports, photography, guitar, piano - you name it I've tried it. And No Interest.

    After retiring my mental health suffered a great deal especially having no kids or grand kids around to enjoy (they live thousands of miles away) son, daughter and 5 grkids 1yr to 18 yrs. I see them once a year.

    My life was not suppose to be like this. Hubby works still since he is 5 yrs younger than me.

    I've tried a business on my own, part-time job, lots of different volunteering jobs and quit them all, unsatisfied.

    Now its just me my little Yorkie and my persian cat sitting at home alone day after day just waiting for what I don't know.

  • Wendy: Sue - Surely something appeals to you to do! Your problems with early retirement don't have to be like this... Do you enjoy writing? How about a blog or website, either as a hobby and a means to communicate your two cents to the world, or as an income like me? Both could be done in your home and could be fulfilling, at least, my website sure is to me! I can't imagine life without helping others like this!

  • Early Retirement - What Now?

    by: Anonymous

    It does get better.

    It helps to look at friends who are worse off than you are, those with debilitating diseases.

    Start by looking back at what you enjoyed in the last fifty years. Not all related to work.

    Money problems are solvable, but only if you are willing to work at it. If you are detail orientated, look at the pennies, if you are creative, look at creative solutions.

    Don't always believe the doctors. Try physiotherapy and above all don't give up on your health.

    Don't allow the "experts" to slot you in with the 80 year old health prognosis, their easy way out.

  • To all new members

    by: Pat from NY

    I want to reply to all the new members... old ones too!!! I wish we all could meet for a party... we all have so much in common!!!

    I have been to "hell and back" sometimes... revisiting hell... sometimes enjoying the moment of "happiness".

    Although I do not have the "answer" I do know that moving forward, looking for new interests, meeting new people, finding yourself... is definitely a step in the right direction.

    I've been where you have been, not sure where I'm going.... love to hear from you and will do whatever I can to help.

    Please respond!!

    Pat from NY

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    Early Retirement. ..

    by Scared

    I have just been offered VR (voluntary retirement) which I have wanted for 5 years now, why am I now having second thoughts, because it is my decision I am absolutely confused and depressed...

    I earn 30,000 plus but have been offered 10,500 year pension plus a lump sum of 50,000 taxable at 55, should I go?

    Wendy's two cents: Dear Scared,

    It IS funny... when you WANT to retire, you (and most young folks) say YEAHH.. LET ME OUT! When you are suddenly eligible to walk away, it's downright scary! I know, I hear you....

    I'm curious... how old are you? In England, what taxes will you pay on $10,500 per year, compared to $30,000 working wages less taxes? Can you make it on the monthly income less taxes? If you still need to work longer, how is the employment situation? Are there opportunities for you, or is your skill/job limited? Finally, what will you DO all day if you retire?

    It's not necessarily a BAD idea.. just lots to consider! The world awaits you.. lots of new opportunities to consider! Fun Fun!

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    Early Retirement: Depressed and
    not enjoying life anymore

    by John

    Hi, I decided to post this just to see what feedback I might get. I retired about 3 months ago. I didn't really want to leave but I was facing threats of suspension and ultimate dismissal because my work performance (speed handling calls,voice quality etc) was deemed unsatisfactory. I had worked there for 30 yrs.

    A retirement package was offered and I decided to take it rather than be forced out with no package in place.

    I never stopped to think that my job, while less than ideal, provided me with the means to do everything that made my life worthwhile---hikes on the Appalachian Trail,trips to Grand Canyon and Alaska even the simple pleasures of getting takeout food from my local pizza place.

    Now at age 52, I find myself 10 yrs away from being able to get Social Security and with a small pension that will be hard to live on let alone do all of the things in life that I used to enjoy.

    There are days when I struggle to even get out of bed and face another day. I worry about every penny I spend at the supermarket and keep my thermostat at 50 degrees so as not to have a $300 gas bill.

    In short, I now worry about EVERYTHING and life is no fun anymore.

    I heard a news report recently that for every job out there,there are 7 people lined up so even getting a part time job might not be the answer.

    To make matters worse, I should`ve taken the lump sum at retirement but instead I took the annuity as I consulted an investment advisor too late.

    I worry now about not having enough money to live a meaningful fun life anymore and that makes my depression and fear constant!

    I would love to undo my decision to retire!!!!!

  • Wendy's Two Cents: You do sound depressed and most anyone forced out of a job (thousands out there) can go through the same self-doubt.

    Have you seen a doctor? I don't like prescriptions, but instead of falling deeper, why not talk to one? Perhaps light anti-depressant makes the world of difference in your mindset, your attitude, so you can see the beauty of simple life around you.

    Don't read the news and think there are no jobs out there... there are and, with the right attitude, you could be just the person they are looking for. Maybe, just maybe, you were a little depressed before you retired, due to the treatment you got from your employer. Shake it off and get LIVING again!

    You don't have to be "retired".. get back to work, do anything just to keep busy and get some social contacts back into your life.

    Go volunteer somewhere... the economy improves and if you've done a good job, they hire you. In the meantime, you are out in society, helping others, being productive -- to find yourself again.

    I'm retiring in two weeks, after 36 years, and I pray I don't fall into a depression like this...

    Best Wishes! Wendy

  • I found work at 58

    by: Anonymous

    husband and I both took early retirements after working for about 35 years each, he is working at a janitor job, (yep quite different), and I am working for a call center. We do not have big paying jobs like we did for Hewlett Packard and Union Tribune in the big city (San Diego Ca.) but are very happy in a small town in Texas. Just keep Going.. you must not weaken, take any job. You will be surprized how happy you will be.

  • Retired early

    by: bruce

    I retired early and you need to give it time and look for a new career, and not the money but doing something different. Don't get into bad habits like TV all day long. Join a gym, volunteer, and enjoy your life.

  • It's normal

    by: Anonymous

    Hi- I retired a little over 2 months ago, after 30 years of service. I was not forced to retire but things were changing and while I had considered retiring in 2 or 3 yrs, things
    are changing and I wanted to "lock in" the current

    The first month was good - the freedom to do
    what I wanted when I wanted to. (by the way I am 56) but about 3-4 weeks ago I began getting depressed and anxious and miss the social interaction.

    I am writing this to let you know you are not
    alone - I am finding getting cleaned up and
    getting out of the house is helping and I am sure
    that I will get through the depression and anxiety
    I am sure you will too --- hang in there Okay?

  • Falling apart

    by: Patricia

    I retired June 2010 because of a voluntary early retirement package. I have had back problems for years and the sitting was killing me.

    The amount of monthly annuity was not high enough but I talked myself into going because of the rumors of my job going 2 hours away and that our hourly pay could drop.

    My husband discouraged me from going because of the loss in pay but I did it anyway. We had 1 month to decide on retirement and I guess with the rumors and the pain in my back and the excitement of doing what I wanted convinced me.

    Since retiring I have worried about money all the time even though I have paid my bills and have some left over and have had many health issues.

    I went back to my back doctor and had tests and found I have a crack in my spine and will need therapy and then maybe surgery. I have had sinus infections and have been mildly depressed.

    I want to start living each day with excitement but have so many worries. I sit around watching tv because it doesn't costs me much.

    Every time you leave the house it costs at least $20 it seems. I am enjoying my pets but my sadness is always there. I can't go get another job because I am now temporary disabled.

    Any hints would be appreciated. thank you!

    Wendy: Why don't you join the Retirement Transition group.. its simply a group (via email) and we talk about the good and bad days. IT's mot easy retiring.. but it does get better!!


    by: Anonymous

    I worked for 34 years at the same job (which I loved)and they closed the doors.

    At 50 years of age I now had to do resumes and look for work. No one would even talk to me because of my age. I miss the people I worked with and their families. I haven't seen my son for 6 years.

    I'm just existing in a cave and not enjoying life as it was meant to be. There is no joy in my life. My doctor has me on anti-depressants.

    I live off a small pension until 60(I am now 57). My present wife doesn't understand.

    Need help!

  • I am there with you but......

    by: Granni Jani

    I retired 6 months ago after 38 years as a flight. I am 62 and in darn good shape (for my age....I hate it when people say that!).

    I was so worried about the airline industry, I decided to grab the small pension I had left and go!! There were other reasons, but I really felt I had put in my time and now, as I look back, I really talked myself into retirement. I never gave a thought to the idea that I might regret it.

    I went from flying around the world, lunch in Paris, shopping in Beijing, dinner in Rome, with great days off, and good pay and benefits.

    I went from that to picking up dog poop every day, washing clothes, running my husbands errands and cooking dinner every night.

    It hit a few months ago how much I missed my job and how boring my life had become. I really made a BIG mistake in retiring. My friends were still out there flying leaving me behind.

    I had a mini breakdown, crying and feeling very sick to my stomach. I didn't even want to get out of bed any more. I am going through a mourning period for my lost career right now. I feel I need to go through this and then I know I MUST go on to another chapter. I can't go back, I can only go forward. I made a decision I must live with and find another path. You know we don't have any other choice.

    One step forward, two steps back, but eventually both of us will be OK.

    I hope you are doing better and we can both move on.

  • Wendy: Jani, Years ago, in Pre-Retirement Planning classes, the Director of Senior Citizen Services would tell those planning their retirements to "allow yourself to grieve".

    Like anything in life, retirement is a personal loss (work life, co-workers, your work identity).
    She would say to give yourself time to work it out, cry if you must, and in time, you'll find your way into retirement and who you choose to be out there.

  • Best Wishes to your NEW Retirement Future!!


    by: John (original poster to this thread)

    Thanks Wendy, I will be volunteering at my local SPCA starting next week.

    Wendy: Good for you... and if it doesn't work out for you, try the next place. There is no harm in trying -- you might just enjoy it too!

  • Retired & depressed

    by: Anonymous

    Note to Wendy - Congrats on your coming retirement and for sure, you will never be depressed. You are so involved in so many interests, and you have prepared so well for retirement, I know it will be an exciting time for you.

    I can understand that it is different for
    a person who was terminated too soon from a job after many years,and is struggling to pay the bills.

    In my mid-50s I couldn't find a job but I learned new skills and began a new career. Then
    I retired at age 67.

    I've been busy ever since I retired and now I am 89.


    Wendy: Elinor, you are a fantastic example of retirement for many of us. Always active, always keeping folks informed with your writing! You Go Girl!

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