I am a sixty-two year old retiree, and I don't think you can ever completely plan for retirement. Finances are never a sure thing. I thought I had it figured out. Then I was thrown a curve ball. This is my story.
As a teacher we have a pension system that has been fairly stable. I am from Iowa and the pension system is called IPERS. The way it works is that you are paid a percent of an average of your highest three annual salaries. If you teach thirty-five years as I did, then the percent you are paid is 65%. This is the highest percent IPERS will pay out, so I figured once I reached it I would be set to retire. On top of that our district offered an incentive to retire, so they could hire younger less expensive teachers.
In a way, I was fortunate that I took the retirement at the time I did. This year was the first year I can remember that our district quit offering the retirement incentive. The incentive I took was approximately enough to pay for I and my wife's health insurance for two years. I figured after the two years, I could take my social security which should be enough for health insurance until I qualified for medicare at age 65.
This is some of the things I did not plan on. First my daughter still needs help financially because even after a four year stint at a reputable college, she is still very much under employed. She needs help to pay for health insurance, and some every day expenses. Second while I planned on coaching, and substitute teaching in order to supplement my pension, my wife got very sick and needed full time home care for a while. That really cut into the extra money I was making. Lastly Health Insurance premiums continue to rise, and although I kind of expected that, it still is scary.
So did I plan well? I would say even though I am not living with a lot of extra money to spare, I still have as much as I did when I taught full time. I also have a lot more time to myself. So as it is, I am a happy retiree. When you try a new phase in life, there are always risks, and sometimes we need to just go for it!
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