The Constant Struggles Associated With Early Retirement

Barbara Hawley had a thriving business as a Chicago-based technical writer, until 2005 when she was abruptly forced into early retirement in an effort to keep her freelance business afloat. For four years, until Hawley reached the full retirement age (FRA) of 66, when she was eligible to receive full retirement benefits, she struggled to make ends meet.

"I had to question if I could spend more than 20 dollars per week on groceries and if I could afford to drive my car places. When my computer went down, I could not hire someone to fix it, I had to do it myself. I would buy one ream of paper at a time. It was a constant struggle to make this formula work," Hawley says.