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The Extension Files is a product of K-State Research and Extension, which is Kansas State University’s outreach and education system. 

The goal for K-State Research and Extension is to be everyday Kansans’ trusted source for relevant, unbiased research and information to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

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Jun 4, 2020

In connection with the covid-19 health crisis, workers have lost their jobs outright, have been laid off with no recall to work date, have been furloughed, or are generally working fewer hours than they previously were. Those who are self-employed, work in the gig economy, and small business owners have also experienced reductions in income.

While the economy is emerging from safer-at-home orders, many household incomes are still not back to the levels they were at earlier this year. In this episode, we talk with a financial expert about navigating money challenges and looking ahead to retirement – from the perspective of early-, mid- and late-career workers.

Guest for this episode:

Dr. Elizabeth Kiss is an associate professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences and a Family Resource Management specialist with K-State Research and Extension. In this position, she assists in the development and delivery of a statewide Cooperative Extension program focused on developing the financial knowledge and skills for sound financial decision-making of Kansans. She supports the work of Extension agents across the state by providing linkages to current research, educational resources, and statewide and national organizations.

Her specialties include:

  • Family resource management
  • Family and consumer economics
  • Personal financial planning

Links to Resources:


Rainy Day Fund to Cover Three Months Expenses

2018: 49.8% of Kansans (source

2020, April: U.S. families (source)

  • 23% of those with incomes less than $37,500
  • 48% of those with incomes between $37,500 and $112,600
  • 75% of those with incomes above $112,600

Considering Retirement?

  • The possibility of finding another job.
    • Might your previous employer bounce-back? Might you be called back to work?
    • Are you willing/able to work in another field?
    • Are you willing/able to move for a job?
  • Your overall savings
    • How much do need? Do you know what your base living expenses are?
    • How much do you have? What is your level of savings? What unemployment or severance benefits do you qualify for and for how long?
  • Your age and Social Security benefits.
    • Full retirement age vs retirement at age 62 or sometime before your full retirement age
  • Health insurance needs.

Full Social Security Retirement Age

Full retirement age, also called "normal retirement age," was 65 for many years. In 1983, Congress passed a law to gradually raise the age because people are living longer and are generally healthier in older age.

The law raised the full retirement age beginning with people born in 1938 or later. The retirement age gradually increases by a few months for every birth year, until it reaches 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

Some age markers

Age 62 – youngest age at which you can claim Social Security benefits

Age 65 – youngest age at which you can claim Medicare benefits

Age 70 – age after which an additional month of age at claiming no longer entitles the beneficiary to an incremental benefit increase