Loving Retirement: “How did I ever have time to work?”
|November 13, 2013||Posted by Marcia Mantell under Boomers in Action|
With all of the talk being about how Baby Boomers are not going to be financially able to retire, it was refreshing to meet Jane (a lagging edge boomer) who had a very different perspective on the whole “retirement” thing. She is just loving retirement – every minute of it, in fact.
She was a public high school teacher for 35 years, mostly in a rural community where a number of the kids had difficult home-life situations. Teaching was her passion, but after 30 years and two different generations of students, this new generation seemed to have changed dramatically. Her days became more of an exercise in frustration management, and she began looking forward to retirement. She had saved diligently throughout her career and participated in her teacher’s pension plan, so she was ready to start planning.
Jane and her long-time partner, Marc, began researching what it would take for her to retire. How would losing her income impact their household? First stop: read the detailed pension and teacher’s union contracts. That was fun. Jane confirmed that she met all the requirements to retire except one. She had to give a 1-year advanced notice to retire; then the school committee would get back with an approval or a postponement. (Every state has different restrictions for teachers’ retirements, and sometimes even different counties have different provisions.) Jane’s retirement was granted and she taught her final year at age 54.
During the planning period, they found one big surprise. In order for your significant other to be covered on the teacher’s retiree health care plan, that person has to be a spouse. But Jane and Marc weren’t married. So, after nearly 20 years together, they made the only reasonable financial decision they could – – they got married! Not necessarily your traditional, romantic proposal, but it worked out great for them. As a result, they both have retiree health care coverage until Medicare begins when each turns 65.
Jane has a big personality and is clearly as happy as can be in this phase of her life. We talked about her career – and how she doesn’t miss it! It was wonderful to teach all of those years, but now she wonders how she ever had the time to work at all!
Her days are so full and busy doing the things she wants that she is happier than ever. She has a leisurely start to the day, then heads to the gym for her daily work outs. She has time to do quilting projects that sat dormant for years. She plans trips, like a recent month-long immersion to Hawaii. She is a close companion to an 89-year-old woman in her neighborhood whose children live out of state. They spend afternoons together and share meals that Jane makes. Jane is also an avid skier and well-connected in her community. These days, she jumps into anything that is of interest to her.
This woman is on the move. She has no interest in slowing down or sitting back. She’s living her life that she designs each day, enjoying every minute. Some people want to retire the word “retirement”. Not Jane. She embraces retirement and is redefining it. She could be a role model for anyone thinking that retirement might not be for them. In short, she is loving retirement.