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59 and holding

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

I just turned 59 Friday. One more year to go before the Big 6-O.

This milestone has me thinking about retirement and I'm pretty sure I'm not ready yet.

My 50s have been great.

My kids grew up just about the time this decade began. An editor once asked me to write about my personal experience with empty-nest syndrome, but I had to decline because I didn't feel any pain when I waved them goodbye. It isn't that I don't love them -- because I do -- but I never regret for a moment that all of us have lives that are separate and distinct.

Thanks in part to my kids' college graduations and my husband's decision to work until he's 66, for the first time in my life, money hasn't been a huge problem in the last few years. Nobody will ever mistake me for Donald Trump, but I have enough that I don't have to worry about where every dime is going. Some of that freedom from financial pain comes from working. When I think about the likelihood that working a lot less will put me back in the position of having to make uncomfortable decisions about what to spend money on and what to forgo, continuing to work at an age when many people are retiring feels like the best option.

I suppose there are people for whom retirement doesn't mean a lower income, and my accountant husband says I don't always spend the money I have now wisely and could get by on less. But that doesn't sound like much fun. So my retirement planning includes working for a long time. And I take inspiration from others who are doing the same.

Not long ago, I sat next to a woman at a dinner who told me that she was working on writing three books simultaneously and she was having trouble keeping her notes straight. Overcome with nosiness, I finally asked her how old she was. Eighty-three, she told me, and planning on writing a few more books after she finished these.

I think she has the right idea.

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