Sunday, April 22, 2007

Retirement, Me, and the Future

Today, for our last assignment, I will answer the questions as directed. Initially, though, I have to admit that thinking about the specifics of retirement has been especially difficult for me this week as I am currently in the midst of a grueling and very stressful job hunt. It's as though I'm trying to think about the cart and the horse at the same time, or to create some bizarre chimaeric hybrid of cart and horse that would make Dr. Frankenstein proud. That said, I appreciate the opportunity to think about the far tomorrow even as I focus on the very near tomorrow right now.

"This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time." -Fight Club

How old will you be when you retire?

Though it'll depend on how many children Sarah and I end up having, and how much I end up making in my various positions, I'd like to begin my retirement process at about age 55 or 60. I don't intend to become 100 percent retired until much later than that; I imagine I'll probably work part-time for many years doing reference work or other kinds of work as such positions become available. Sort of a phased retirement, but it may require me moving positions to achieve what I want. Depending on the level of leadership I've achieved, I might stay longer depending on how the organization is working at the time, whether I feel I'm still fully engaged, and other factors. But I'd like to PLAN so that I can start the process at 55 or 60. Fortunately, and not to mince words, I stand to inherit a fair bit from my parents who have accumulated very well and only have one "heir," which should help my retirement plans.

Where do you want to live?

Near or in a pretty fun urban area with lots of opportunities for retirement learning, volunteerism, and cultural engagement. Sarah and I are both urbanites or at least civilizationites at heart, and I know we couldn't "retire to the country" the way some folks do.

Do you plan to work? To volunteer?

I plan to do both or either as the opportunities permit. Ideally I might do some adjunct work at a LIS program or stay involved with the organization that I have recently departed in some fashion. I definitely know that I will want to travel a pretty great deal, which will mean that I won't be able to have too darn many specific commitments...though getting vacation time as a volunteer has always been pretty easy!

What do you see as your sources of income?

There is of course the IRA and the varied investment portfolio my wife and I will have saved throughout our working lives. I don't know about Social Security's long-term solvency, but to have a comfortable retirement most people can't rely on that particular source of income. My inheritance, which will probably be phased, will make up a pretty significant portion of my retirement income as it does for many people now that parents are living longer. I don't want to "bank on" my inheritance either, of course; I want to make sure that Sarah and I can be secure without any help from outside our own nuclear family.

What else will be important to you?

Grandchildren. Seeing new things. Remaining vibrant and connected to reality. Having the ability to relax, just as I always have coveted and have done. Friendships with people of many different ages. Never becoming obsolete or obstinate. Learning something new every day; something significant. Finding a fifth love, after my wife, my children, librarianship, and the games that will probably make up most of my life to that point.

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