My 65 year old wife of 42 years, Ann, recently told her bosses to take her job & shove it - well that might be a bit of an exaggeration. After a very nice send off by her bosses that I attended, she left our humble abode a week later for Georgia to assist her brother in selling her 96 year old mother’s house, fixtures & car as well as help her mom into a retirement community. So for me her retirement to date means having to get up thirty minutes earlier than normal to walk the dog & I miss those extra minutes of shuteye. We also enjoy dining out several times a week & I miss that too since my 28 year old live-in daughter doesn’t share my epicurean tastes.
Ann worked for a university for 11 years and became irritated when her Psychology department was moved off campus into an office building. The move impaired the strong connection she developed with the graduate students she supports. Those issues & working at the same job for 11 years convinced her it was time to retire. She also did not make a huge salary & with social security would make about the same since we invested much of her salary. We discussed her retirement over the last two years & I tried to convince her to wait until her full retirement age of 66 but I lost out to her concerns about her mother who, in my opinion, is surprisingly spry & sharp for her advanced years, & may I add a neat & nice lady.
Ann is a people person. She has lots of friends, is very active in the church and community type things. I expect upon her return from Georgia that she will fill up her days & nights volunteering in every project the church, senior citizen center & women’s club sponsors. I’ve asked her repeatedly if she shouldn’t consider getting a bunk room at the church since she is there a number of evenings. This does not match my idea of a great evening which is to sit down with a large glass of wine & some excellent cheese, read the Economist or watch a little PBS. Needless to say I’m considered the boring one by those who know us.
The first question I am now asked by colleagues & friends is when will I retire? I recognize that I’m usually the oldest person at meetings & while my job can be rewarding I simply like the money. I’ve worked my way up to a fairly decent salary & that allows us not to watch our pennies. On my way home on Fridays I greatly enjoy stopping at Whole Foods & buying $100 of food we really don’t need & may I say that their cookies are out of this world. Ann was raised in a very comfortable middle class family but my parents were just one step above poor as dad was a career military enlisted man & early on in his marriage got into financial problems due to Mom’s health issues & the death of my brother. So, I admit that I have a hidden fear of being poor although we shouldn’t have to worry as I have a military pension & we have actively invested over the last 22 years.
My wife recently began to query me as to my retirement plans because she is ready to travel the world. My expectations are to work another 2 – 4 years & suspect that this will be the cause of some disagreements as I’m a bit of a workaholic & routinely lose vacation time because I somehow think I’m indispensable. Someone once told me the last thing you will ever say on your deathbed is that you wished you spent more time at the office. I agree with the thought but do not practice it.
I moved my 89 year old mother from Pennsylvania into a retirement home near us roughly nine years ago & her health continues to deteriorate so I need to squire her to most of the places she goes. Lastly, with our daughter still living at home & with no current plans to move out leads me to believe I need that monthly pay check. Our daughter is currently on the 10 year plan for graduating from college & if you’ll say a little prayer for us maybe she will actually graduate this December with what I believe is a useless degree in general studies.
I expect to have lots more to say about the wife’s retirement once she returns from her sojourn to Georgia, until then as they say in my birth place of Hawaii - Aloha.