Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Me versus Dear Abby on Retirement

My morning routine has been pretty steady since I entered retirement more than four years ago.  I wake up, take my morning pills, make my coffee and read my local newspaper. 

Now, to be truthful, the paper does not usually have a lot of news in it, but it does have an editorial page with Mallard Fillmore and the syndicated New York Times crossword puzzle.

I have learned some interesting new words and some facts that were previously unknown to me while doing the X-word.  This morning I learned that Olive Oyl wears a size 14-AAAAAA shoe.  And now you know that too assuming you did not previously.

I probably would not read Dear Abby if it were not right next to the puzzle.  I still think some folks make up stuff to write to her about.  And I often wonder why they would write and wait for her response to some things that are seemingly trivial.  Usually, when I disagree with her answer I just wait for other folks to write and tell her she was wrong.  This morning she hit one of my 'hot' buttons.

The 'hot' button is 'retirement'.  My biggest issue with articles about retirement are the ones from AARP that tell folks to wait until they are 70 to collect their Social Security.  I have a list of folks who never made it to 60, let alone 70, starting with my father.  Then there is my old neighbor Doris; my predecessor in office, Dottie; the Township Finance Director, Steve; the elections specialist, Marilyn; well, just too many to think about.  All of them looking forward to a retirement they never got to experience.

So, today, here is Dear Abby telling a woman who is 62 and wants to retire to talk to a financial planner and rethink her decision.  She ends by telling her that if she waits 'a few more years...(she) will have even more money to enjoy life in (her) retirement.'

Abby, what if she never makes it a 'few more years?'  I know that is not an encouraging thought, but s--- happens.  My father had a long list of what he wanted to do in retirement.  When I quit my job in 2008 to retire, two of my co-workers, who are now deceased, told me how they were looking forward to their own retirement.

I always tell people that if they are ready to retire 'just do it'.  If money is an issue, remember that it is not how much you have, but how much you spend.  You need to have a budget and stick to it. 

I don't believe that we are meant to work until we drop.  After school, and raising children and two careers, I was ready to just sit back and be idle, if nothing else.  But I have found that I love having plenty of time to grow my flowers and tend the garden, take yoga classes, travel when I want, read books that I never had time to read before, and, well, just sit.  And if some see all that as selfishness, so be it.  It's my retirement.

I hope to still be here at 70.  But I have to live to 81 before taking my social security at 62 means of loss of income to me because of the decreased payments.  And by then, I doubt that my expenses will be so high that it becomes an issue.  And that's assuming our government is still paying our social security.

So, to the woman who is ready to retire, go ahead and talk with the financial planner, but if you feel in your gut that you are ready to retire, then 'just Do It.'


  1. I am so glad you are embracing retirement. My father refuses to quit work. It is like some stupid badge of honor. He is 83 and does not have to work BUT he really does not have any hobbies, he never did. Work was and is his life. Of course, now it is a little job, nothing like what he did as a living but to him going to work everyday is what you do and once you don't life is over. It is maddening, so maddening. Sorry, didn't mean to go off on here but we need him to stop work and he won't. It is starting to wear on his body. UGH!!!!
    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  2. I agree with you, and I applaud your decision to choose to retire when you were ready for it. I have seen many crumble to pieces post-retirement, which is why it is very important to have some hobbies and keep oneself busy.


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