Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time to retire when your Easy-Bake Oven can't bake your cookie

Your Easy-Bake Oven will no longer bake a cookie. Hasbro is phasing out the incandescent light bulb that heated the toy ovens. In its place will be energy-efficient compact fluorescents. Good news for the environment unfortunately the bulbs don't get hot enough to bake a cookie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spotlight: Henry

Name: Henry
Age: 68
Work status: Full-time professor at local community college
Financial status: good, could retire any time 
Retirement wants: Work as long as possible, drop a class or two when schedule gets too much.
Interests: sings in kickass church choir that does a lot of tours
Signed up for this group because: Thought it was a financial planning workshop, since that's what I teach I thought I would check out competition.
Best thing I ever did for eventual retirement: Got out of corporate stressed-out job early enough to get teaching position that I love.
Advice for others: Save lots and early. I'm a financial advisor, I have to say that.

the transition

Two weeks ago someone in the company I work for retired. 

Some people announce ahead of time their intentions so the exit is made easier (for both the company and the soon-to-be retiree). I get a feeling that for our last departed employee it was within a month that he went from picturing retirement in some faraway cloud and departing with the proverbial copier paper box filled with personal mementos.

Working one day, at home 'taking it all in' the next - sounds horrific even if planned. There's got to be a better way to ride into the sunset. 

In our church discussion group we discussed six options. Here's a summary of our thoughts:

1. Whack away full steam at work until physical or mental disabilities arise. Sure you leave work abruptly but you have a host of medical problems that need attention.

2. Whack away full steam at work until you're fired. This could be a viable strategy, not our group style, but we had fun discussing it.  We wondered if you get unemployment benefits along with social security. Perhaps an age discrimination suit can ease your financial worries. 

If health insurance is a concern for you, time it so Cobra runs out the day after Medicare jumps in. Overlap is good concerning your insurance, we all agreed.

2. Take more of a backseat job - less responsibility.  Some have tried this (me included); turned out it was too soon (me included). 

3. Work part-time in your career area. But everyone knew part-time folks that worked a lot more hours than they should (and in most cases, more hours than paid for). Ideally you want to work when you want to work, some weeks full-time, couple of weeks off, taking afternoons off during the cool season, etc. Not a lot of employers looking for you.

4. Work in a brand new area that peaks your interest. The right job, the right boss, new subject, nice work if you can get it and make enough to make it worthwhile.

5. Work part-time in a bookstore. I was happy to hear others had given this a lot of thought. This option may be dimming reflecting the problems Barnes and Noble and other bookstores are having.

6. Or retire full-time. Eventually you have to retire full-time sometime. Not many positions are open in a nursing home for a patient.