Getting Ready To Retire


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I’m three months from my chosen retirement date. It doesn’t seem real, but it’s true. My coworkers and boss all know, as well as former coworkers from the other building. After all, after 28 years, there are lots of folks to tell. I’ve started telling clients too, the ones who would be more upset getting blindsided. And the office decluttering and cleanup is started too. Lots of work in getting ready to retire.

Mixed reviews

Many of the people I’ve told are telling me they’re sad, they don’t want me to go, and they don’t know if this is a good thing.  A few people don’t like change anyway and I’m challenging them.  So I’ve told friends and relatives to get support and help me to ward off guilty feelings.

To be honest, I sometimes wonder if it’s a good thing.  Then I think about it, and conclude once again that it’s time.

Years ago case managers used to do a review of treatment progress every quarter, on paper, got everyone involved to sign it, and filed it in a paper chart.  Now we do a data-gathering quarterly review on the network, that populates to the progress review.  The data-gathering phase keeps growing.  The last addition of five questions made all clinical and case management staff take an hour training and qualifying exam to use.

Time to go.  I got into this to serve people, not machines.

Cleaning up

After 28 years I’ve amassed incredible amounts of stuff.  So little by little I’m cleaning out drawers, shredding some stuff and throwing the rest of the things nobody needs.

I also have a lot of office toys, random gifts and winnings from Agency events.  Not being a seasonal decorator, my Halloween prize is still on display on my little table.  I have no idea what I will do with that.

Some of this work-related stuff is so outdated it just has to go.  Unfortunately, I will need to produce the updated material to replace it.  Otherwise nobody will know how to get the update.

Finding homes for the plants is another task.  I always kill them at home.  Miraculously they continue to live at the office, or they don’t.  The survivors will need places to go.  They’re nice plants.  Maybe I will do a contest and whoever can come up with names for what these plants are can have them.  I have no clue.

I will take home some things.  My winter office clogs and walking shoes can come home, and so will my shawl and hat for cold days.  This office was built on a slab and gets quite cold when the temperature drops and there’s no heat.  Springtime is murderously cold there.  I even have wrist warmers so I can keyboard.

I’ll take the landscape photos my husband took around the area, and the photos from the office manager, who does wildlife shots well.  And maybe a book or two that I read over lunch that I may want for some reason.  And that’s about it, really.  I’ll leave the rest of the books, which are all about mental health, for the next people.

The business end of retiring

Soon it will be time to apply to Social Security and Medicaid to get my benefits started in July.  I want this taken care of with time to spare so Part D and Medigap policies can be put in place right away.  It makes no sense to wait till the end of the grace period.  What if suddenly these people develop a need to see some obscure document?  No, when it’s the government, I don’t wait around.

After checking with the policies at work, I will not submit a resignation till I have a month left.  Submitting a resignation locks me out of my earned time, and I intend for that to happen as it will be maxed out and payable on my retirement.  But I do need some in May, so although I’ve verbally told my boss and his, nothing in writing till the end of May.

Medicare supplements

Soon I’ll shop for Part D and Medigap policies.  I’ve begun with the Medigap, and I’m pretty sure I’ll go with the Vermont Blue Cross policy.  My husband has had it for years, and it’s the lowest cost plan around for us.  Not only that, my husband has found their customer service to be responsive and accurate over the years.

Part D is another animal altogether.  I’ve done the process of choosing a plan for others.  It just takes a few minutes to enter all prescriptions the applicant is taking, and then about an hour to decently check the options all the way.  I’m very worried about how Part D works.  It will be rough if my costs change radically month to month or go too high.

I already had a ballpark figure for how much to spend on insurance, though, so shopping already is easier since I have an idea of how much is too much.  Your results may vary, but you can go on and have a look on the Medicare website to see about how much various things cost.

Read more on applying for retirement benefits from Social Security here.

Speaking of money…

Finally, I’ve been cashing some money out of the IRA that was fully into the S&P 500 index fund.  Now, that fund did quite well and really grew the IRA, but now it’s time to cut back on it.  There is a recession coming to knock down the value of the savings for a while.

The 403(b) will be rolled into the IRA, and will diversify it in one fell swoop.  Then I can tinker with it if need be.  But the money from the index fund is still in the IRA as a money market investment.  It will cover us for several years if we need to go that long.

Still dreaming a little

Sometimes I daydream about aspects of retirement that elude me now.  Like reverting to my night-owl nature, and sleeping without an alarm clock most of the time.

Joining the area’s elder population as I shop for food on Wednesdays but not having to wait till 4:30, when work ends.  That’s when all the others have taken the on-sale orange juice, leaving me with options that either taste gross or cost $9 for a supply.

Time to warp up the looms and weave.  Time to run outside and dye a pound of wool when the weather is good.  That’s way better than waiting for a weekend day when the weather is good!

Time for projects with the DAR.  I haven’t even finished my beginner’s course three years in.  Got to get that done!

Time for walks with a friend, time to go float in the lake, time to mulch the semi-wild plants in the garden.  And time to catch up on my reading.  Ah, the luxury!

So that’s what I’m up to and thinking about while I’m getting ready to retire, three months out.  Comments, anyone?



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