Thanks (maybe!) to Boston Gal for steering me toward this article from USA Today titled Some Early Retirees Have Second Thoughts.
I would think that anyone considering imminent retirement might postpone those plans for a year or two to see if the economy recovers, or at least move to part-time employment rather than give up one's income entirely. But what about those who retired a few years ago? Especially, what about those who retired prior to eligibility for Social Security or Medicare?
It is unrealistic to think that there won't be downturns or even recessions after retirement. We can choose not to retire during one of these times (provided our health or a job loss hasn't dictated our retirement) but we will still have to face them at some point during our retirement years.
I haven't completely thought out what I will do. Obviously, I will try to keep my draw from my 401(k) to 3% or less during the lean years. But the catch there is the cost of health care. I was shocked to find that one couple cited in the article is paying in excess of $1300 per month for medical coverage. I haven't done much research, but in my fantasy retirement budget, I've always used the figure of $1,000 and secretly assumed that that was too high and I'd probably get by for less.
Oops! Maybe not.