You Are Never Too Young to
Indeed, the Younger, the Better
Before deciding to take
early retirement from your job, stay home a week and watch daytime television.
— Author Unknown
Maurice Musholt at one time had many fears about retirement. She feared that
retirement would be one big rocking chair with nothing more to do and not knowing where to
After nearly two years of touring the country in a motor home,
Maurice and her husband Wayne settled in Sun City Center, a Florida community of 16,000 retirees. They were
lured by climate, 200 civic and social clubs, 144 holes of golf on seven courses and, 25 miles north in Tampa
Bay, an array of spectator activities such as museums, professional sports, and performing
We have no porch, no rocking chair — and no time.
My biggest need is a calendar because there are so many things to do. Now I encourage people to
retire — the younger the better.
— Maurice Musholt
At 58, the retired elementary school teacher from Rockford, Illinois, told a reporter that she
discovered a whole different lifestyle from what she had expected. "We have no porch, no rocking chair — and no
time," Maurice said. "My biggest need is a calendar because there are so many things to do. Now I encourage
people to retire — the younger the better."
Maurice Musholt is right. You are never too young to retire and you can always come up with
fun things to do when you
retire. The bottom line is that if you want to fill your retirement days with a lot
activities, you should retire by age 55 or 60 if at all possible. Waiting until you are 65 may mean
you don't have the vigor, enthusiasm, and health to enjoy it. Poor health can limit the types of activities you
can pursue. What's the point of building an impressive nest egg for forty years only to discover that you aren't
in adequate health to enjoy the advantages and opportunities that retirement offers?
Plan Now for
This may come as a surprise to you but your retirement plan should allow for your
involuntary early retirement. Why? Many people are forced into early retirement many years earlier than
they had planned to retire.
"Oh, this won't happen to me," is the response of many baby boomers. That is dumb thinking.
Fact is, that was exactly what those baby boomers were thinking at one time to whom involuntary early
retirement has already happened and they were forced to make their retirement speech.
Here are some retirement statistics in regards to how many people
retire early from a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey:
Forty-seven percent of retirees were forced into retirement earlier than planned.
Of that total, 42 percent did so because of health problems or disability, 34 percent left due to
their employers’ downsizing or closure and their not being able to find replacement jobs for
retirement, and 18 percent left to care for a loved one, either a spouse or a family member.
Here is the bottom line: Even if you think that you are going to work until 65 or 70, you
may be forced to take early retirement at 61 or 59 — or even younger. Ensure that you work this into
your retirement plan and then enjoy all the advantages of retiring
That You Can Do
Extra Time in Early
Note: This is exerpted from How to Retire Happy, wild, and Free (The World's Best
Retirement Advice Book).
Hammond Stith, 61, had this to say in 1998 after he had taken early retirement and had been
retired for four years:
"There's seven things you can do with your time: You
can work and you can play and you can sleep. You can improve your mind or you can improve your
health. You can work in civic activities or educational activities, or you can work in some
spiritual area for the church. As far as I know, there's nothing else you can do ... And my
retirement has been great. It's better than anything I ever expected it to be."
Early Retirement Is an Incredible Retirement
Martha Felt-Barton of Salt Lake, Utah was 35 in 1995 when she founded The Martha Felt Group, an advertising and
public relations firm. After coming home at 7 p.m. for several years, and still having to do "homework" each night,
she concluded that enough was enough. Thus, she sold her firm in January, 1999 and took early retirement.
Now 42, she devotes a lot more time to her husband, Michael, and her two children, Connor, 10,
and Annie, 14. Recently, the whole family vacationed in Turkey for 18 days. She also works out, plays basketball
in the backyard, takes art classes, and is involved in community work.
When is the right age to retire? When you dread
going to work.
— Mary Bright
Above all, because she took early retirement, Felt-Barton is a lot more relaxed than she was
when she was working. Indeed, her two children think she is less uptight and a much nicer person than she used
She also feels that there are many fun things to do in
retirement. In 2002, Felt-Barton told a USA TODAY reporter, "There are so many other
interesting ways to spend your time. I feel like this is a gift, but it's such an incredible [retirement] gift. It's a gift I
need to use."
Being Retired Can Be the Best
That Ever Happened to
I really stay busy [in retirement]. I often have
to cancel my golf games on the weekends to go play in tennis tournaments.
— Richard Davies
Kirk Symmes had never planned on what he was going to do in retirement because he thought that
he would continue to work forever as a computer salesman.
At the age of 65, however, he was forced to retire when his company laid him off. He had no idea
what to do with the rest of his life so he got involved in as many retirement
activities he could. This included taking several classes at the College for Seniors,
a department of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement at the University of North Carolina.
Ernie J. Zelinski has written three books that I
bought and enjoyed reading. I highly recommend his books. They help you think "out of the box"
and make you realize that retirement is unique for every person. His three books are
Retire, Happy, Wild, and Free — retirement wisdom that you
won't get from your financial advisor, The
Joy of Not Working — a book for the retired, unemployed, and
overworked, and Career Success WITHOUT a Real
Help on Baby Boomers Planning for Retirement Website
Symmes always had a fascination with history — in fact, he graduated
with a bachelor's degree in the subject from Yale in 1948. Thus, one of the courses he took at the College for
Seniors was 100 Decisive Events of History. Soon after, he learned that the college was looking for instructors
— not necessarily instructors with Ph.D.s, but retirees who might enjoy teaching other retirees. Although he had
never taught a class before, his proposal to teach an eight-week seminar called "Origins of the U.S. Bill of
Rights" was accepted.
If my dreams could all come true
paradise/retirement would be — in a little bungalow — somewhere by the sea.
— A Retirement Poem — Author Unknown
His first class did not go as smoothly as he would have liked. "I
read more than I talked," Symmes told the Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, he did not turn off any of his 45
students enough to keep them from attending the second class. In fact, with a little more practice, he became an
excellent instructor. Over the next six years he taught six courses, including four about Thomas Jefferson — his
"It really is a very satisfying experience to have a little bit of
knowledge that people are interested in," declared Symmes. And he was only half-joking when he added, "If I had
known retirement would be this great, I would have killed to have gotten here sooner."
It certainly was not my plan or wish to go
out and buy a rocking chair. I would advise anyone if they're retiring, if they've got a rocking
chair, to get rid of it.
— stated by 69-year-old Bobby Joe Anderson, who retired as president and CEO of Puritan/Churchill
Chemical Co. in Atlanta.
If You Don't Like Involuntary
Retirement, Sue the Pants Off the Company Off the Company That Forced You Into It
This is not necessarily the best advice for retirement: If you don't like involuntary
retirement, sue the company that forced you into it.
After having worked for 31 years for Abbott's Ross Products Division in Columbus, David Jelinek,
in his mid-fifties at the time, retired involuntarily from his sales job. In 1997, a year after he was the
company's top-performing salesman, the company eliminated some positions to cut costs. The oldest sales manager
and the one with the most seniority, Jelinek was making $100,000 annually selling Ross Products nutritional
supplements for seniors to doctors.
Retirement: When you have given so much
of yourself to the Company that you don't have anything left that the company can use.
— Author Unknown
The company told Jelinek that his position was surplus and that he had to accept a transfer to
Gary, Indiana. The Gary position was the only offered, but Jelinek felt the sales district had no potential
because it suffered from a lack of customers. In March, 1998, Jelinek told Ross that if there were no other
positions, he would resign and consider himself "constructively terminated and involuntarily retired."
My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I
never did like to work, and I don't deny it. I'd rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk,
laugh — anything but work.
— Abraham Lincoln
Shortly after he left the company, Jelinek filed an age discrimination lawsuit in which he
claimed that he was forced into early retirement. He was subsequently awarded $25.7 million by a jury in
Franklin County Common Pleas Court on April 2, 2002. "The jurors thought they had to send a message," said
59-year-old Jelinek, after speaking with several jurors about the verdict. (Abbott Laboratories told reporters
that it would appeal the verdict because it was "not supported by the evidence or the law.")
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