Since 2000, we have had two massive market crashes.

These crashes have decimated retirement plans for many people. Some who hope to retire have responded to the crashes by working longer than they had expected or wished.

Working longer is not an option for everyone, especially those who work in a blue collar trade.

I have met with many blue-collar workers over the years, and often they have medical problems that don’t allow them to work as long as others.

Blue-collar work can be physically demanding, which can cause all kinds or back, knee and joint problems, among others.

When I am meeting with a new client, I will often ask about health issues that will change their retirement outlook.

When I meet with a blue-collar worker, I expect there to be a health problem. Many blue-collar workers sacrifice their bodies to serve others.

Workers who have employment that may limit their ability to work have to make saving an absolute priority.

Workers from all fields tend to delay saving for retirement out of procrastination. Many blue-collar workers don’t have this luxury. Save as early as you can.

Blue-collar workers should also be well informed on the type of retirement plan they use. There are many options for saving for retirement, and the options can vary widely.

Some retirement plans allow you to stash away tens of thousands of dollars. Choosing the right plan may have a substantial effect on retirement.

Blue-collar workers also need to be well versed in Social Security benefits. Social Security does allow workers the option of drawing an early retirement benefit.

Social Security also provides disability benefit. There are many details of the Social Security system that require some study; make sure you know them all.

You don’t need to rely only on the government for disability insurance. There are also private disability policies that may provide better coverage than state-run options.

All blue-collar workers need to look closely at private disability insurance options. Having the right insurance coverage may keep you out of poverty.

I have seen many blue-collar workers overcome health problems by utilizing an apprentice or subbing out work to employees or friends.

These options require taking on more of a management role, which many don’t like, but it does allow some to remain in the business and continue to prepare for retirement.

Having something to fall back on may also be a great help. I am always amazed the creativity of those in blue-collar fields.

Some workers may change fields to something less physically demanding others just figure out a way to make things work.

These ideas don’t apply to just blue-collar workers.

Police officers, soldiers, and many others do work that may inhibit their ability to work into the Golden years. Many of us have the luxury of working in a field that won’t cause long-term damage.

We have a reason to be grateful.

Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, MillsWealth.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.

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