The biggest retirement planning news of the day is undoubtedly the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, who Monday morning announced, "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the ... ministry."
Michele Dillon, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and an expert on both Catholicism and aging, calls the pope's action a message to all older people who still hold positions of responsibility.
"We all need to reassess whether what we are doing is the right thing to do. It is very hard to walk away from power. But it behooves all of us to ask ourselves if someone else could do what we're doing -- and do it better," Dillon says.
The pope wrote in his resignation that he intended to spend the rest of his life studying and praying, which Dillon believes means that he won't be involved at all in the running of the Catholic church. "It is generous of him to say that he is stepping down and plans to spend his time praying -- not looking over the shoulder of his successor. What the pope is doing is a selfless act. He is doing what is best for the church, not what is best for him," Dillon says.
"He could have done what his predecessor Pope John Paul II did -- delegated decision-making to others -- but he recognized that the church needs a full-time leader."
The last time a sitting pope resigned was Pope Gregory XII in 1415, so I doubt there's a retirement fund or any standard pope retirement policies. Dillon says there is a retirement plan for bishops who contribute to it during their working years, so the pope, who says he will retire to a monastery in the Vatican, should have some spending money.