Your Retirement Will Probably Start Earlier Than You Want

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Few people want to consider the possibility of an unexpected early retirement, but a job loss or serious health issue can sideline you way before you expected it in your working years.

"Many Americans are faced with unexpected early retirement," says Joe Jennings, a financial adviser with PNC Bank. "More than half of those 70 and under who have already left the workforce did so earlier than they had planned. Factoring in the unexpected is part of a strategic retirement plan."

Reasons for retiring before you're ready vary. 

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 63% of employees who leave the workforce early do so because of a health problem or disability; 23% depart over a downsizing issue or en employer shuttering its doors or business closure; and 18% leave because they have to care for a family member.

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Your retirement savings goals likely won't be met if you fall into an unexpected retirement. Your income will suffer by not working, and in the case of a health issue, valuable financial assets can be swallowed up that are needed to pay for good medical care — even with decent health insurance.

Financial advisers generally agree workers will need to replace 80% of their full-time income in retirement, but that task becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, if you shave five to 10 years off your expected working life.

While not appealing, an unexpected early retirement isn't an official disaster — especially if you plan ahead and redirect your household budget and spending to accommodate the lost income you will likely lose by bowing out of the workforce early.

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