On Monday of this past week I decided that I needed to start doing a bit of number crunching to see if I could possibly retire. Now, I’m not ancient, and I’m not against working by any means. I just think it’s time that I worked doing something I love instead of floundering in a sea of stress. So, I ran the numbers on my pension. Wow – I’ll only get about 70% of what I’m making now, and with having to pay for health insurance (although the insurance available to me is relatively inexpensive [$400/month]), I saw no way that I could make it. After all, I still have a mortgage. I still have a car payment for that fancy, but much beloved, CRV I bought in 2008. So, too much debt, too little income, right? Hmmm. Then I started thinking about other assets. I have a couple of annuities, but I’m a bit young to withdraw them, so I’d have to pay a penalty, and would it be worth it. In the long run, I decided YES. Then I went to see our retirement counselor and realized that due to some changes in the laws, after January 1, one of the annuities is a required withdrawal (in lump sum, 5,10,15, or 20-year increments) at retirement. Because it is required, as long as I am over 55 (which I am) there is no penalty! I can also work for six months post-retirement, so I can pay all of my debts (except the mortgage) and live off my pension and probably even save my second annuity!! I am over the moon happy! I have begun to sleep through the night. I have a spark of joy in my heart that I’ve not felt in ages.
Of course, there are a few stings that came along with this realization. When I told my boss I was leaving, he gave me the speech about how valuable my skills were and how the department would miss me, etc. By the next day, however, he was figuring that there are a lot of housewives and even faculty spouses who might like my job. This is the man who just hired someone that I have had to provide lots of help for lately, including how to eject a cd from her computer’s cd drive. OY! Oh well. Human Resources values my talents and institutional memory, so they told me that I am eligible to work half time in any calendar year after retirement. They generally have no one who wants to do this, so if I find myself in need of work, I can probably get a gig to help out at the U. I’m hoping I don’t have to go there, but it’s nice to know there’s a bit of a safety net there.
So – I retire April 1st. I can work 1039 hours after that without penalty. This is probably when I will be training my replacement (ugh). Sometime mid-September, I’ll be out the door. Free, clear, ready to quilt. Just in time for MQX West!! I couldn’t have planned it better.