Retirement Plans

JumpingTheShark

I retired early for a couple of significant reasons; stress and drama at work becoming too intense, and a desire to pursue my passions before I was too old to enjoy them.

I didn’t want to wait until I had crippling arthritis to tap the keyboard.

The healthcare industry (at least here in Florida) needs a lot of work from the inside out.

So here I am.

I am reading, researching and writing. I love what I do. I am happier than I have ever been in my life.

I was looking through some articles on retirement and I find two persistent themes.

1)      There are a hundreds of articles telling you how to financially retire early.

2)      Most people are working longer due to improved health and financial need.

So what is it; retire early or retire later?

Here’s the deal. The books that I write are for a mature audience. My audience, like me when I was working, has little time to sit and read. They are busy working and earning money so they can retire…maybe early. Many boomers are just now beginning to retire, at least that’s what I am seeing in the articles I am reading.

One thing that people are saying they want when they retire is, “MORE TIME TO PLEASURE READ.” Yes, they want to travel, pursue their hobbies, but they also want more time to read!

That is a great thing for writers in ANY genre. 

The books that I most enjoy writing are about an era that most young people can’t really relate to.

I don’t write Twilight fan fiction, contemporary romance, or YA anything.

I write literary fiction and historical fiction. The real lives of people who have carved the paths others walk, with hope that new travelers will make those paths broader, safer, cleaner…keep them up and use them as roadways to a better future. It isn’t boring the way history sounds. It is real life drama in the best of times and the worst of times.

I hope that any of you who are looking to retire early to pursue your passions are able to do so.

For those of you that have already begun to pursue your passions, I applaud you for being true to your spirit.

When I was in high school, I had teachers encouraging me to major in journalism in college. I had a $17,000.00 scholarship to go to Wesleyan (a lot of money in the seventies). I was anti-establishment back then. I turned it down to get married, start a family, and work at McDonalds. Divorced and remarried at 19, I think I must have moved twenty times in two years. I was precocious, as many were in that era. Yet, I had no clue where I was going.

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A year later, when I realized that the establishment was about the only way anyone could really support themselves and increase their standard of living, I returned to school. I had a desire to become a psych nurse so I could help people like my mother who committed suicide at the age of 26, and others whom I had known with addiction problems. I went to L.P.N. school first, but you needed an RN license to work psych. I lucked out when a hospital, based on merit earned in vocational school, offered me a scholarship for RN school. So off to University I went. I did have a passion for nursing, a calling.

It wasn’t an easy road to raise three children and go to school in-between pregnancies and nursing children. It took me eleven years to obtain a four year degree despite having excellent grades. I have no regrets, as it was what I needed to do and becoming a nurse, the career experiences, have given me a perspective that I will forever treasure.

Divorced again and single in Florida, with my kids off at college, I had opportunity to live young, but with means. I was glad to have had my children early in life while I could still do cartwheels with them and chase them around the trees. We literally grew up together. We went through some really tough times together. We experienced a lot of joy together. While I am not advocating anyone to live their lives that way, I am saying that there is hope if you find yourself in dire circumstances and feel that things will never change for the better.

Although I have worked all of the high energy, fast paced areas; like ER and CCU, and did get in a few years of psychiatry, the area I am most fond of in retrospect is geriatrics. Why?  Some have told me that it is too depressing…but I never saw it that way. The old people with their stories fascinated me. Often, I would work the night shift when the old timers, who could not sleep, would get up and come to the nursing station between our rounds just to chat.

What fodder for writing! What fuel for my fire!

Years ago, I had regrets that I was not following my dreams to write, regrets that I chose a passion for nursing over journalism.

I have no regrets now.

With three beautiful grown children and two adorable grandchildren, I have had a thirty year plus career in health care, fifty three years of life experiences. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I have time.

I am retired and living well. I am writing.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau

 

51 thoughts on “Retirement Plans

    1. Thanks Mark. When I was a small child all of the old men gathered in the community at George Teal’s Store. My grandfather would sometimes take me to get me out of my grandmother’s hair. It was a tiny general store in the middle of nowhere. Even as a kid, I recall sitting on the steps eating my peanuts and drinking my cola while listening to their stories. I enjoyed it even then.

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  1. I think the dream is to retire early, but the reality is that comfortable retirement is rare. I fear what it will be like when I hit retirement age. Not even sure there will be one when I get older. By the way, you mentioning your time as a nurse to help people and turning such experiences to your writing reminds me of Michael Crichton. He was a doctor and I believe he used a lot of his experiences with his books and writing ER.

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    1. Carrie Rubin, an author blogger friend, has a medical thriller out, and she is a pediatrician. I am amazed at how people find time to write and practice. That is some serious dedication.

      They keep moving the mandatory retirement age later and later. My Dad will never retire, he’ll just drop dead, or get so senile that he can’t function, but he’ll still think he is at work.
      We haven’t tapped the retirement savings yet because Greg is still working, but he plans to be done in less than five years.

      I could not imagine retiring on what SSA is willing to pay me after thirty years…no such thing as a pension in nursing, just the 401k and 403b, and any other IRAs. I feel very fortunate to have been able to set money aside and that Greg’s health is good. If all I had was my SS, I would be way below poverty level.

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      1. My dad retired, but my mom is still working. They put money aside, yet they still worry.

        I have a friend who thinks there’s a conspiracy designed to cause the ‘lower class’ to continue working into senility or death. The entire thing revolves around the gradually pushing the age back. Some days I wonder if he’s onto something.

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      2. And yet, they plead for older Americans to retire early to aid the youth fresh out of college at finding jobs…problem is, they can’t afford to retire early because the college aged kids are still home…LOL
        It’s a viscous circle… a catch 22

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      3. Definitely. There’s also fewer jobs out there and many employers want experience. They also want fresh out of college skills and knowledge, but you can’t get both in the same package.

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      4. Saying they want both experience and freshly learned skills is a legal way of saying they want young and cheap. That has always been the weirdest thing to me. I was declined a hospital job when I first moved to FL (None of my GA experience mattered). I took a psych facility job…then I was told that because I had worked in the psych facility setting, I was no longer qualified for hospital..EVEN though I was still ACLS certified. The local hospitals were screaming for experienced nurses, and I had experience, but they said I had been out of the hospital setting too long and wanted to bring me into an intern program at half the rate I would get paid in a Nursing Home. I took the Nursing Home job. My girlfriend here now has been looking for work. Her hospital wing closed down when a new hospital opened. She is my age, and she has years and years of experience in pediatric CCU, but they only want to pay her what they are paying new grads.

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      5. I had the opposite problem. I lacked the experience to get much. I needed to go through a temp agency to prove I was worth keeping around. As much as people want young and cheap, they set up a lot of hoops to eliminate those that don’t have ‘experience’ or the ability to lie about experience. Honestly, I think it’s just an overall mess at times.

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  2. There was an interesting article on Yahoo News today about a man retiring at age 27. It seemed that his retirement goal wasn’t to not work at all after age 27, but so that by age 27, he would have freedom to wake up each morning and decide what he wanted to day, be it work or something else. It think that’s what we want, not so much no work at all, but the independence to decide what to do when. We get that autonomy as writers. 🙂

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    1. There is so much to be said for that Chris! I am every day working, but not punching the clock. That makes a world of difference. If I decide to drive to the beach to reflect, I can do that too. Some days i write and some days I make jewelry. That’s nice to have choices, instead of dreading the next shift.

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  3. I can’t wait to retire to write full time! 2 more years I am planning. Like you I had my children early and that was the way to go. Keep writing! I’ve been telling everyone what a wonderful book Red Clay and Roses is!

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    1. Thanks Elle. I would hire you as my publicist, but my retirement plan won’t cover that…lol, but I sincerely appreciate all that you do 🙂 Good luck to you too, in joining the force full time.

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      1. Good luck to you both! Greg primarily has to work because of health insurance costs. We both have good health, but we do have medical issues. The premiums are astronomical and without his income our savings will drop way faster than we can afford right now. We are also paying into an annuity that still has a few years to go. I am glad he started that early in his life. There is no long term care on me for catastrophic illness, so I told him if I get to where I can’t wipe my own butt, just shoot me.

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  4. My father is talking about retirement in Feb., I can’t believe he’s 64 already. Life goes by so fast. I hope he finds something to enjoy when he does retire.

    I think you’ve earned your time by the tropical flavors of FL after all that time spent in the ER. Now its time for your children and grandchildren to brag on you!! Bless you! Enjoy your writing!

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    1. Thanks Audrey! I feel like bragging on them all the time, not the other way around. I do feel like I have earned a little rest, relaxation and recreation. Your father will probably have all sorts of ways to stay busy, I wonder most days, how I ever had time to work outside the home.

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      1. Fishing is awesome. that’s another passion I have. We don’t get to the boat as often as we’d like to, but it is nice when we do. (Other side of the Gulf..LOL) We hope to move closer to Sarasota when he retires.

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  5. One of my favorites of your blogs, Susan! I love the way things fit into place…eventually. Your passions come together beautifully in your book and I look forward to more. I don’t recall that we were so close in age. I hope that someday, you will do a memoir…you surely have the life experiences/content for one (or two).
    Hugs, Patti

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    1. I have a series of short stories that I was stocking away for an autobiography of sorts or a memoir. I am not sure if my life would easily be written into a memoir. It reads more like a psycho thriller.

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    1. Congratulations John, and with your new book out, I know you are doing what you wanted to do with your time.

      Isn’t it amazing that two years have gone by, and what has happened in two years? I didn’t even know what a blog was two years ago.

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  6. I am also happy that I have had my children young. I think your perseverance through obstacles and tough situations tells us a lot that (some of us already know) you are incredible and we are all very lucky to know you.

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    1. Awe, you make me blush. With all that you do and how you juggle it all, you are one incredible lady as well. There are reasons that we are able to bear children young, and they are more important than all the STUFF we can afford to give them if we wait. I actually had family members call me totally irresponsible for having children while I was trying to get through school. Screw them, my kids are happy.

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