Monday, June 10, 2013

J. Alfred Prufrock contemplates retirement

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
 T.S. Eliot 

Wednesday is my husband's last day at the office.
We've been looking forward to this next phase of our lives for a long time. For some 25 years we've been sending a large percentage of our modest incomes to retirement accounts. We joke that our retirement plan is to live on so little that we won't miss it when it's gone.

For the last several months we've been crunching the numbers. When exactly should he retire? Would a reallocation of our retirement resources make them last longer? Which of our two highly professional, fee-based, but disagreeing financial advisers should we follow? When should we take Social Security? When can we start getting Medicare benefits? Which work-based health-insurance plan should we sign up for in order to stay covered until Medicare kicks in? Which of the many Medicare supplemental insurance plans is best? Which of the many insurance companies offering such plans is most likely to stay solvent and keep its rates low? Which Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will best suit our needs?

We've also been looking at lifestyle questions. Should we stay in the place that has been home for 25 years, or should we move to be closer to family? We know about living too far from our kids - 1100 miles from one daughter's family, 800 miles from the other's - but is it possible to live too close? If we move, how do we find good realtors, here and there? What do we need to do to get our place ready to sell? We already live in a townhouse - should we downsize even further? When thinking about a place to live, what factors are most important to us? Will we need a place without stairs?

And then there's the question everybody asks: What will you do in retirement?

"First," my husband says, "I'm going to clean the garage." I hope he's not joking.


Lael Caesar said...

As I told you when we met, my daughter got her name from you. You may still write, I trust, while he is cleaning.

Lael Caesar

Anonymous said...

Those questions of where to live confound us too -- family (oh, the grandchildren!) 1,200 miles away, other family within a day's drive. And how do we know they will be there for the long haul if we would pull up stakes and move closer? No pat answers, no guarantees -- I guess it takes a leap of faith and common sense. But it sure seems desirable to be close enough to develop even stronger bonds with grandchildren!

Janet Bischoff said...

Yours is a thoughtful, intelligent, and eminently helpful blog. My husband (73) is a Lutheran
pastor, but who retires from a call? I am a musician, but what artist ever retires? We, too, need to move closer to family. In our case, we are trying to imagine leaving a place where we have lived and served for 16 years, and
basically starting over in our retirement years. It is requiring of us that we not think of life in a linear way. It's very hard. We hope that we can keep on growing, trying, learning, growing, serving,
and above all, listening for the voice of God. May it be so for you,
as well. I hope you will keep posting, though! And thank you.