Sometimes, the best retirement planning goes haywire. And sometimes that's not such a bad thing.
Over Labor Day weekend, I waved hello to my Detroit-area neighbor and remarked that I hadn't seen much of him. He said that's because he's gone back to work after officially retiring in June 2009.
My neighbor's employer ran into trouble after the financial meltdown of 2008 and told many longtime employees like him -- 34 years -- to retire. His company said they were going to outsource the work he'd done and save lots of money.
My neighbor, a skilled tradesman, was only 56, and he really wasn't ready to quit work, but he didn't have many options. So he took the deal, which came with health insurance and a modest lifetime pension. Not a fortune, but enough for him and his wife to get by.
Three months ago, a year after my neighbor left the company, management had a change of heart. It had laid off, retired and otherwise gotten rid of many of its most experienced people. So many, in fact, that it couldn't get the product it manufactures out the door. It desperately needed the expertise it had shed.
In order to rehire its retired workers, the company set up its own local outsourcing firms and those companies rehired the retirees. My neighbor and all seven of his former departmental co-workers are back on the job, making not only their retirement pay, but also the same amount that they used to make before they retired. Occasionally, they even get overtime.
This version of retirement is good for my neighbor. It is allowing him to rethink all of his retirement planning. He says he may even buy a new car.