Many people spend their whole careers preparing for retirement. But the best-laid plans can go awry if you get laid off or otherwise have to retire at an unexpected time.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the question of how to handle a forced-retirement situation. Dan offers a two-step process, where first you look at all the financial resources you have, and then you look at your expenses to try to match them up. Dan notes that it's important to consider things like pension benefits and Social Security, but don't make any snap decisions about taking those benefits until you know what your expenses are and what the consequences are of taking benefits right away. Ideally, the best decision will include cutting back on expenses, making the most of your savings and investments, and making a realistic decision about whether to seek new work.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.