Just want to make a decision... take the big leap to retirement?

by TwinC
(San Diego)

I'm turning 60 next month and I've been an elementary teacher for 22 years (after working in another career for 20 years).

Inherited enough from my father to be in a financial position to retire. Yes, I do feel the time has come to at least work part time, but I have done nothing but work since I was 16.

I have no idea what I'll do when I retire. I have no "passions". School has been my passion for the last 22 years... but now that spark is pretty much gone.

Do most people just take the big leap? Better to work part time for a few years and ease into it? My husband is a few years younger and will likely work for another 6-7 years, so we won't be taking lots of long trips yet.


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Maybe part time
by: Donna

I would encourage you to ease into it by working part time. You would still have a set schedule, feel productive, and get satisfaction from your chosen field, but have time to develop some passions outside work and your family.

There's a lot to be said for the satisfaction and self-esteem one gets from having done a good job at a job that a person likes. It may even be one of the purposes of life. As for income, if you really don't need it, just increase your charitable contributions.

My sister retired early from teaching and loves it. But she'd not worked for much of her adult life. I retired early and am having difficulty adjusting (my situation sort of required retirement of sorts), altho I'll be fine (and I have interests and hobbies!).

My brother retired early and has become waaaaay too involved with other people's lives, due to boredom with his own life, I guess. I have a friend who is transitioning to retirement through part time, and even with that, he's having difficulty transitioning. It's different for everyone.

But with part time, I think the transition is much easier.

Partial Retirement
by: Brenda

Could you cut back to being a substitute teacher for 6-7 years? Or be a tutor, maybe at the school where you currently work? It would give you time to reflect, make other plans, and do some serious self-care. After you are taking care of yourself and feeling more refreshed, you may be better able to make this decision.

There is no hurry to retire unless you are burned out. This is a huge life transition; take time to really consider your decision. That you are conflicted indicates to me that you may not be fully ready to retire.

An exercise I like is to make the decision one way & sit with that decision for at least 24 hours. You are definitely going to retire; it's a done deal. In a day or two make the opposite decision & sit with that one for at least 24 hours. You are not going to retire, you are going to work for another 5 years.

After you have made the decision both ways and see where you are on each decision you may better know what is right for you at this time. You can change your mind at the end of another school year if you continue to teach or repeat the exercise.

Good Luck

New twist
by: Anonymous

I retired from teaching for 32 years. It was my passion. I decided to take a course in Orton Gillingham method of teaching reading. That enabled me to help one child at a time for a few years. I enjoyed it immensely and it is a nice added income as well.

Finally have tried complete retirement this past year. It is an adjustment but I can always go back to tutoring one child if I want to do that.

Good luck with your decision.

No Urgency
by: Joe W.

@Twin,Hi! I notice that those people that are relatively well off financially don't have the same urgency to think about any serious projects to work on in retirement.

At the beginning I would do some research to see if you have any 'hidden passions' I'm sure that you have a lot of useful skills especially related to teaching. Also, maybe discuss your retirement plans with your husband who still has 6 0r 7 years to work yet.

Good Luck!

Joe W.

Deciding to retire.
by: Susan Whittenham

If you've lost the 'spark' and interest in your present job of teaching and you have sufficient income to afford to retire, then I'd seriously consider retiring.

But don't just suddenly give up working and then find yourself stuck at home with no hobbies or interests and bored to tears with your new lifestyle. For it is a whole new different lifestyle that you have to get used to and it does take time.

Why not consider your financial options very carefully and at the same time start thinking about activities you can fill your spare time with. Church or community activities, perhaps; are you a mad-keen gardener?

Take your time to think carefully about what to do with yourself in retirement and it should work out fine in the end.

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