We are coming to the end of a year like no other. I suspect that most of us will be more than happy to see 2020 go. Of course, we face the question we often contemplate as a new year begins: Which path forward? It's a question that could be particularly challenging for Boomers right now.
On the positive side, it is looking like an effective COVID-19 vaccine will become available in 2021. If this is true, we may be in a position to look forward to eventually returning to a "normal" life -- at the very least, seeing people we love, enjoying social events and traveling if we so choose. It will be remarkably refreshing if many of the things we used to take for granted will be safe for us to do again. Still, even with a vaccine, we'll have to be wise about how we navigate life. The virus won't magically disappear. Wearing masks and maintaining some degree of social distancing, even if modified, will remain essential. That will be the new normal.
Many Boomers will likely be taking stock next year. We'll have to consider how the pandemic has affected our livelihood, our retirement, our financial condition, our physical health and our mental health. Everything needs to be re-evaluated, as with the financial meltdown of 2008-2009. Some of us may have to make tough decisions about working or not working, retiring or not retiring. Writing for NextAvenue.org, retirement expert Kerry Hannon reminds us to be cautious about taking early retirement. Drawing Social Security payments too early is one potential downside. Hannon cites Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, who writes, "Benefits claimed at 70 are 77% higher than those claimed at 62."
Hannon has some solid advice for anyone considering early retirement:
- Prepare a budget
- Carefully consider the pros and cons of any early retirement package you may be offered
- Determine all of your sources of retirement income
- Plan withdrawals from savings and investments
- Be sure to take health insurance into account
- Talk to a financial adviser.
She offers helpful information about all of these areas in her article.
I've always believed the toughest challenges can open up new and sometimes unexpected opportunities. For example, even at their lowest point and with numerous previous failures, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have persevered and prevailed. We can too, regardless of which path we choose to go forward.
HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.