notes on retirement – the early days

I’d stopped working on my birthday back in December, taking time off to enjoy the Christmas season. Throughout my entire career I’ve never enjoyed more than three weeks off, and that was during a period of long-term employment where vacation was capped at three weeks maximum. Even when I had three weeks I had to break it up between vacation and other personal tasks that required time away from work. This was different this time. This break was continuous.

Taking the Christmas season off from work was wonderful. I had nothing to worry about except finding and fixing one of the infinite number of little things that needed attention around my house, that’ve been collecting now for decades. So there was a deep sense of satisfaction in finally, successfully fixing those things, and knowing they were fixed.

I had every intention of continuing to work part time, and had discussed it with the owner of the company where I was working. But when I went back on 2 January to check my work computer back in and get a feel for the project’s computer network, I discovered that the environment I needed and had worked on so hard for so long was a mess. A big fat mess. I tried to do a bit of recovery and correction but there was no way for me to proceed, let alone succeed. So I made the decision to formally retire that day, turned in my badges, and left.

After a literal half-century of working and paying taxes into the system, I’d finally decided it was time to move on. Let those younger than I who can handle it, handle it.

My only regret is no longer working with some really great people. I have a near-infinite number of tasks to do around my house to keep me busy for quite some time, and I enjoy not having to make the daily commute from one side of Orlando to the other across the 408. But being in the company of good people and socially interacting with them is a cherished treasure, not to be lightly cast aside. I’d given considerable thought to just that issue in the months before I finally left, and the leaving is something that I’m going to have to sort out for some time to come.

The best way I believe I can do this is by forging new relationships with new people, through volunteer work. And that’s a path I’m slowly moving down.

i’m officially, technically retired

It’s official. December is my birth month. I’m now 66. According to the rules and regulations of Social Security, I have applied for and been granted full retirement benefits, which I will start receiving in January 2020.

Since October I’ve been fighting to get enrolled into Medicare Part B. That took two trips to two different Social Security offices, along with very long waits-in-lines. The first time I dropped off the necessary paperwork and they essentially lost it. The second time I just stayed there until some human took my application and stamped it received. After the second trip it took 48 hours for me to officially show up in the government system, which for me was 5 December, or over two months of waiting. I’m so glad that’s finally done.

I registered for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) back in 2018 when I turned 65. That was an extremely easy process; enroll online and then wait about five business days. Then wait another 30 days for my Medicare card to arrive in the mail. Such an easy process compared to the insanely complex process for Medicare Part B.

I say ‘retired technically’ as I’m still working part time at the same place I’ve been working at since August 2017, for the same hourly rate. I don’t have to pay for group insurance through them anymore, which will save me nearly $500/month. My medicare plus supplements will cost about $300 total, with no deductibles on drugs and doctors visits.

I have no idea how long I’ll be working part time. But the money is still good, even for part time work. I’m in a serious saving mode where it’s all going into the bank for certain future high-dollar projects. My wife for example wants to travel to Scotland, and I insist we travel first class because of the additional leg and body room. That comes in handy for people with medical issues such as severe arthritis, which applies to both of us now.

Here’s to an interesting future.