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The quintessential retirement

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

Winnebago Chairman of the Board Bob Olson, 60, is hanging up his work boots this month. After 43 years of working for a company that promotes leisure travel, he and his wife Kathy are going to follow company advice and take an extended Winnebago road trip. "We're going to spend a month on the road. It's  something that we have been looking forward to for several years," Olson says.

Other than a stop at the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers, or WIT, Florida Sunshine Rally in Orlando, the Olsons don't have a schedule.  As Bob Olson says, "The beautiful thing about an RV is that you can find a place you like and stay there as long as you want."

The Olsons started their retirement planning shortly after they got married in 1970, he says. "We've always paid ourselves first -- putting money away, so we'd have it when we needed it."

A year ago, they remodeled their home in Iowa and added a garage for their new 40-foot diesel Winnebago "Journey" pusher with four slide outs. They also built a workshop so Bob could have "space to tinker."

Olson, whose first assignment at Winnebago was working on the line installing windows in RVs, is remaining on the company board of directors, which is a paying position. He also will maintain his role as company representative in a number of RV organizations. But next year, the couple expects to spend more than just a month traveling. "Right after Christmas, we'll take off -- not sure where we're going to go."

Olson says he and his wife started detailed retirement planning five years ago. "It comes quicker than you think."

Will he regret giving up a high-profile job with daily responsibilities? "My wife is worried about that, but I don't think I'm going to get bored. I don't think I'll have time."

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