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Who says you have to retire?

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Earlier this month, I wrote about a MetLife study indicating that despite some research to the contrary, baby boomers, who are by definition no older than 66, are retiring in droves.

I asked readers what they thought about the study and how they were timing their retirement. So far, there have been 104 responses, with 22 of them from people who intend to keep working. Here are some of their comments. I found them inspiring retirement planning food for thought.

Channa: I am 52 and believe that retirement precedes death. I have no desire to spend my life taking care of grandchildren or volunteering. I am fit, smart and still feel and look young. ... Retirement is for those who need to slow down! Please don't count me in.

Jack Frost: Retire? Social Security and job retirement programs will give me about $48,000 a year. My individual retirement account and other investments have a market value of about $450,000, but I'm not touching that. I'm 65, healthy, happy and working! As long as it's good, why quit? I get paid health care and other benefits including annual leave of four weeks a year. The wife is retired. She brings in about $45,000 a year and has yet to put in for Social Security. And she has a portfolio of $950,000, but it's not growing. The best plan seems to be to work a little longer, so we don't have to touch investment principal for at least 10 years or longer. Quitting sounds good, but living well and having money for health care later is very important. So I'm playing it by ear. Work looks good!

Lucien: I just turned 60 and intend to work as long as I can. I have a great career and enjoy it immensely. I plan to retire from employment at 67 and form a consulting group to do national and international work. So I never plan to retire. My 87-year-old mother just gave up her real estate business and misses it terribly. I expect she will be back at work by the end of the year. Must run in the family.

Ed B: I am still working at 79 full time as a professor of organic chemistry at an excellent university. I love teaching and doing research on neuroprotecting compounds. Currently, I am teaching 100 students and directing the research of several students and post-docs. I have two grants and am about as productive as I was several years ago as determined by publications, grant activity and student teaching evaluations. I plan to work until my grants run out, which is several years from now. Needless to say, the financial situation for my wife and me is excellent. My financial adviser has informed me that when I retire, my income will be just about the same as my present salary.

Andy Thames: I've already retired twice and am now into my third career. We're almost out of debt. These next few years represent money in the bank to fund vacations, toys, etc. I need four additional years to be vested in my third, and final, career. I plan to retire at age 70, if my health allows me to work that long. Our living expenses will be funded through Social Security, Veterans Affairs benefits and various IRAs and 401(k)s. I'm frankly getting tired and looking forward to retirement. But I want to ensure that my wife will have no financial difficulties after I'm gone.

You can read all the comments here. Next, I'll focus on polar-opposite comments from people who retired while they were still relatively young.

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3 Comments
Toby Speed
April 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Both are great articles, and the comments offer much food for thought. I'm 59, and while I would love to retire so I can write full-time, I'm pursuing another path that makes more sense. I recently cut back my work hours to 80% (4 days); next year I plan to cut back to 3 days a week, and because I have a State job, the State will continue to pay into my 401k and give me health and other benefits. Meanwhile I can adjust my expenses to live on less and get out of the awful, stressful, deadline-crunched, 5-day-a-week routine. I developed a health problem about a year and a half ago that makes it very difficult to work so many hours per week anymore, another reason for cutting back.

So, how about writing a blog on semi-retirement? Who's doing it? How's it working out? Pluses and minuses?

Roger
April 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

Jennie, I looked at the graph and thought that further study is needed because the two biggest bars are "Other" ....