Posted on Saturday, 5th October 2013 by

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I retired in 2005 at age 55, almost 9 years ago! Honestly, I wouldn’t have retired if I didn’t have 35+ years of service at the time and an avocation, my business to fall back on.  Had I stayed I would be retiring with 45 years and a maxed out annuity.

What I enjoy about hosting my federal employees retirement planning site is talking with so many retirees that are truly making retirement work for them and their families. Take Frank for instance, he retired around the time I did and since then has traveled extensively recently returning from a three week tour of Europe staying two weeks in Italy at a friend’s villa and then took a one week bus tour of Rome, Pisa, Verona, and Venice. His next adventure will take him to Portugal! Frank and his family truly enjoy traveling and he spends a lot of time with family and friends .

Nancy, our Travel Forum host, loves cruises and frequently visits the west coast, Hawaii, and Europe plus she is planning an African safari.  Another recent retiree, Janet, a friend from my old job in Pittsburgh, traveled to London with her husband to attend the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game. What a way to start off retirement.    

On the flip side there are those who retire to grow a small business or non-profit. Randy Baldwin did just that, his business Just Write Laser Engraving specializes in unusual and unique gifts for retirees, fund raisers, corporate, military, and others. He devotes full time to his business. He also had a side business while still in government that made ink pens out of about any material. He made three pen sets from a wood hammer handle that was the only thing that I had from my father who died in 1951 when I was a year and a half. I display the pen set in my office along with a FAA retiree logo coffee mug from his current company.  

Another excellent example of a federal retiree’s entrepreneurial spirit is Ann Ozuna a former federal personnel specialist and our HR and Divorce Forum host. Ann took an early retirement in 1996 and founded Personnel Solutions Federal Benefits Counseling located online at She assists individuals in understanding all their federal retirement options as well as individuals and attorneys with interpreting the OPM divorce rules.

Many retirees devote time to their church and charities while others pursue every hobby imaginable including gardening, cooking, coin collecting, sports, watch and clock collecting, you name it and a retiree is enjoying their time and they consider it time well spent.  Anything other than work for this group and I can understand that. I’ve been working non-stop since my early teens, over 50 years of continuous non-interrupted work. Why do I do it? Basically I still enjoy the challenge of getting up each morning and coming to work and today that means going downstairs to my home office after I make a pot of coffee for my wife and take out the dog.  However, that being said there is a time to slow down and simplify one’s life and turning 65 is a major milestone that is fast approaching for me. 

One of my co-workers, many years ago, planned to retire early and devote his time to outdoor activities from fishing to farming. Unfortunately health issues got in the way and he was never able to fulfill his dreams.  The key to a successful retirement is planning and knowing upfront before leaving what you intend to do and are able to do, and if you are financially, emotionally, and physically prepared for your new adventure. Take time to plan your exit and use our retirement planning site to help you through the process.

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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