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Money Culture

Forced into Retirement? Downsize

Laid off from his job as a software engineer, Ken Wadland did something smart: he downsized.

After losing his job in June 2009, it immediately became obvious to Wadland that he could not afford his large house in the Rhode Island countryside. He sold it and purchased a condominium to reduce his housing costs, which are the largest single expense for most households.

The financial-services industry barrages baby boomers with tips for saving and investing their retirement nest eggs. But little attention is paid to the strategy of downsizing, an effective way for baby boomers to improve their retirement security by cashing in on the large amounts of equity built up in their homes over decades.

“I’d rather not have the expense,” Wadland, who is 60, said in this video.


Ken Wadland from Over Fifty and Out of Work on Vimeo.

Wadland explained how he came around to his decision in the online video series, “Over 50 and Out of Work,” which is featured occasionally in Squared Away.

His most recent job was at a large company, which once awarded him for being an innovator. “My passion is solving puzzles,” said Wadland.

When that same company laid him off, he joined many older people who are uncertain whether their situation is temporary – and they’ll find a job – or they’ve been forced prematurely into retirement due to their age.

A one-time consultant, Wadland planned for either contingency by downsizing. “If I am in fact now retired, can I sustain this? I think now I’m at the level that this is sustainable,” he said.

The high-tech industry is growing smartly these days and Wadland, in the end, did find work again in his profession, according to Susan Sipprelle, one of the creators of “Over 50.”

To watch other interviews in “Over 50 and Out of Work,” click here.

One Response to Forced into Retirement? Downsize

  1. Bob Richards says:

    I find that those who have had a “job” their entire life are lost when they get laid off. They don’t think outside the box of having someone “give them a job.” There is a new paradigm and it’s not about jobs. It’s an economy of money in return for value. There’s plenty of ways to generate income, as explained in this article, ways other than a retirement job.