With all of the talk about how Baby Boomers are not going to be financially able to retire, it was refreshing to meet Jane. She’s a younger baby boomer with a fresh twist on retirement. Jane has a very different perspective on the whole “retirement” thing. She is just loving retirement – every minute of it, in fact.
As a public high school teacher for 35 years, mostly in a rural community, Jane saw first hand kids with difficult home-life situations. Teaching was clearly her passion. But after 30 years and two different generations of students, this new generation seemed to have changed dramatically. Her days had became more of an exercise in frustration management. And she found herself 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? The first stop was to find and read the detailed pension and teacher’s union contracts. That was fun. The next step was to confirm that she met all the requirements. Fortunately, Jane met all requirements to retire except one.
Transitions to retirement might include surprises
She must give a 1-year advance notice to retire. Then the school committee would get back with an approval or a postponement. (Every state has different restrictions for teachers’ retirements. 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 is already loving retirement
Jane has a big personality and is clearly as happy as can be in this phase of her life. We talked about her career. She is a little surprised that 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. One of her favorite parts of retirement is that she now has time to do quilting projects that sat dormant for years. She plans trips, like a recent month-long immersion in 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.