Friday, August 31, 2007


What I knew about retirement after 18 months

Tomorrow it will be seven years since I retired. Officially, I retired on October 1, 2000, but I had some vacation and sick leave, so August 31 was the day I turned in my keys. I stayed late that night, left in the dark, and shed a few tears as I hauled out the last few boxes. Today I came across a note I'd written to a fellow librarian 18 months later in February 2002 to let her know how retirement was going. I had written an extensive plan, called "Post Employment Plan" and made it public on my web page (no longer have that), so I was catching her up on how things were going.
    "I’m enjoying a lot of the things I said I'd do--and trust me when I say I had absolutely no hobbies (except reading) and was a bit concerned which is why I made my plans so public. Accountability. But I am taking a writing class, a Spanish class, a painting class, and ballroom dance (for the second time since 2000--slow learner). We did the Alaska cruise in 2001 and will do an Atlantic seaboard cruise this fall [this was changed to a land tour due to a hurricane]. I'm in a book club with Marti and Adrienne, and in the Visual Arts Ministry at our church. I've got a genealogy software program, have entered about 3,000 relatives, and discovered that I am my own 6th cousin because of all those Tennessee marriages of 1st cousins. Also have found an occasional "love child", and that has been REALLY interesting. For a year I did try helping an international student with English, but decided the age gap was a problem (I was older than her parents). I never did take up roller blades--have some hip pain, so I'm sticking with walking at the gym at Bethel and Olentangy. Bird watching has been tough--can never find the little suckers. But I do sit on the deck of our condo and try it, and enjoy watching the condo crew show up to mow the lawn. I'm going to be the guest poet at an "open mic" poetry reading in April, and will be in a barn painting show to celebrate Ohio’s bicentennial. Also had a piece published in "Stories of Ohio; Tales my grandparents told me" (if I'd do the genealogy research, I could join Ohio First Families).

    If it costs less to be retired, I haven't seen it. Too many things to do. But time is money, and I'm a billionaire. My advice about retirement is the same as you've heard elsewhere. The health insurance is a real problem--it is now 1/3 of my retirement check and was 1/7 when I started. I'm wondering if health premiums might be 100% by the time 65 rolls around [it isn't]. You all know what the stock market has done to your funds, so adjust and be cautious. I bought TIAA-CREF SRAs every year I worked, and haven't used it yet [still haven't], but it is a good idea to have something besides your pension. Because of STRS, I get nothing from Social Security, but every case is different--so make an appointment and check it out if you are nearing retirement age."
Then in October 2003, I started blogging. I think I may have posted this before, but can't find it. Plus, it's just fun to read it.

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