The Moneyist: I’m 60 and lost my job due to COVID-19. My husband makes $150K. We saved $1.3 million. Do I resign myself to early retirement?

United States

Dear Quentin,

I was laid off due to COVID-19 last year. I want to work, but looking for something close to home isn’t panning out, and long-distance commuting isn’t an option for me.

Our home and vehicles are paid for, and my husband makes $ 150,000 a year. I’m almost 60 and he is MUCH younger than I am. Do I just resign myself to an early retirement and depend on him, without being able to contribute to the household and a 401(k) and retirement funds?

We have approximately $ 1.3 million in retirement accrued, not including our home’s value. We have a good relationship, but I’m afraid of being dependent on someone, even if it’s my husband.

Trying to be Independent

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at

Dear Independent,

A year is a long time to be without work and it may seem more intense in a year when everything seems to have slowed down because, well, it has. Please remember that we are living in highly unusual circumstances, and so much progress has been made already.

You have a happy marriage, savings, a mortgage that’s paid off and a husband who still works. That’s a fortunate position to be in. But don’t give up on working, especially if your gut is telling you that you’re not ready even if you can afford to. Talk to your husband about how you feel.

‘You could use this time to volunteer so you’re still contributing and/or further your education to plan for the future.’

Assuming you have your vaccine, you could use this time to volunteer so you don’t feel like you’re not contributing and/or further your education to plan for the future. It could also be the time to explore starting a small business, one that does not involve too much financial risk.

Up to half of Americans cannot afford to retire.You have contributed to the long-term running of your household by helping to pay off your home and accrue decent savings for your retirement. Why choose guilt when so much of what has happened this past year is beyond your and our control?

You are not alone. The pandemic may push many into early retirement. Jennifer Schramm, senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute, said those aged 62 and over who lost their jobs in the Great Recession were half as likely to be reemployed as 25 to 34 year olds.

‘It could also be the time to explore starting a small business, one that does not involve too much financial risk.’

Lisa A.K. Kirchenbauer, certified financial planner and a founder of Omega Wealth Management in Arlington, Va., asks her clients three questions: “What needs to be protected or maintained? What do you need to let go of? What needs to be taken on, adopted, or created in your life?”

From your letter, you are someone who needs to feel busy and useful, and there are ways you can still do that. American Jobs Centers may also provide assistance. I’ve given you three suggestions, but meeting people through other endeavors allow new opportunities to open up.

Please keep in touch, and let us know how you get on.

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