Posted on Sunday, 26th May 2019 by

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This December I’ll be retired 15 years! Seems like yesterday when I walked out the door with my good friend Nick Trush. The two of us returned to Pittsburgh’s Air Traffic Control Tower a number of times over the years to catch up with old friends. The ability to retire at 55 is a huge benefit for federal employees; I had 35 years and 7 months service when I left to run Bookhaven Press full time. Several months before retiring, I launched the Federal Employee’s Retirement Planning website that answers the many questions I had when I was completing my retirement paperwork.

Turning 70 is a milestone, I start collecting Social Security next month and at this time in life you look at the end game and what lies ahead.  Life after 70 can be a new beginning for many, a time to reflect on your past life and the journey that lies ahead. For me it’s a time to forge ahead as I’ve always done in life: writing a memoir, looking at the opportunities and challenges that may come my way, and coping with the frailty’s life serves up as we age. It isn’t a time to sit back on your laurels and vegetate, it’s a time to grasp what lies ahead with vigor and determination, and accept the inevitable.

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

The following three paragraphs are excerpted from my memoire’s draft introduction.

“Life in the mid twentieth century was all that one could imagine of that time, a Forrest Gump world running at a snail’s pace. The only cell phone we encountered was in the comic strips when Dick Tracy was the rage. Computers were relegated to research facilities, filling large rooms with vacuum tube equipment racks emanating ambient light; illuminating the room’s interior.

Airplanes were just becoming the rage after World War II but most relied on trains and trollies to get to where they needed to be.  The middle class was buying cars and homes at a feverish pace yet most still could only dream about living what was referred to in those days as “The Life of Riley,” an early 1950s TV sitcom.  We watched “Father Knows Best,” the “Donna Reed Show” and others that represented the ideal traditional family infusing our dreams with visions of a stable and satisfying life surrounded by family and friends.”…

My story is that of an average person living life, at times, in what many would consider difficult circumstances. I’m not a renowned personality, infamous, or celebrated in any way. simply put, I represent what one can do with so little, and go so far, even when the world expects so little of you. This is a story of life’s struggle to not only make ends meet but to eventually succeed beyond what most others would have thought possible due to a family’s early misfortunes. My story provides a perspective of that ordinary life and how anyone with drive, motivation, and desire can make their dreams come true in America with hard work and perseverance.” 

Some proclaim that age is only a number, inferring you are only as old as you feel. That’s true to a certain degree but from my perspective it’s so much more. It represents wisdom, learned lessons that you can impart to others, humility, the ability to help family and friends, and a time to watch your children and grandchildren grow and prosper.  A changing of the guard, as it has been since the beginning of time. Each of us strive to leave this world in better shape than when we inherited it. All we can do is try our best in life; it isn’t a matter of success or failure, it’s that we do what we can to make a difference.

Life offers many opportunities for all of us to explore at any age. If we are incumbered due to age or circumstance there are other paths to achieve modified goals and aspirations. I helped an elderly neighbor use his computer for online banking and hobby research. He was 80 at the time. He developed Macro Degeneration towards the end of his life and I enlarged the displayed text so he could still work online.  Eventually, at 92, he needed a large magnifying glass to continue.  He never gave up on life until it gave up on him!

Everyone should have their estate plans formalized by the time they retire, including: wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and end of life planning. If you are 70 or older and haven’t formalized your plans start now, it’s never too late until it is. Estate planning is often put off to a later date that never arrives and our heirs suffer the consequences. Those who have estate plans, age 70 should be a reminder that it may be time to review and update your plans. Circumstances change over time.  The following list of articles may be helpful when developing or reviewing your estate plans:

Request a  Federal Retirement Report™  today to review your projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools / Resources

Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment, health care, or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment, health care or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, medical, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.

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