Early retirement


Working for the State of ND can be a pretty good deal if you stay long enough. They have good benefits and the option of participating in a 357 plan (the government version of a 401K plan). There is also a pension plan, and as it currently works, you can retire with a full pension when your age and years of service add up to 85. That means, depending on when you start, that you could retire well before the Federal retirement age for your cohort.

I reached the Rule of 85 on June 1st of this year. I have decided to not retire now and work three more years until I also can receive full Social Security benefits.

Husband reached the Rule of 85 in 2014, and promptly retired and started working on the Reservation. Just last week, he filled out another application with the State to work 10 hours a week at the Human Service Center in Bismarck. He is the only applicant. We presume he will get the job. That means he will be a “Double Dipper”, someone with a pension who also works part time for the State. He is excited.

I was tickled to read that Tony Bennett, age 95, has finally decided to stop touring and retire. I also understand that he has Dementia. How wonderful that he could work so long and like what he was doing. Husband feels he needs a real paycheck, not just Social Security and his pension. When I am done in three years, I want to be done. No extra work, nothing. Husband had better realize that I am not putting up with his working until he is 95!

How long did you imagine you would work? Is retirement a positive concept for you? What are your favorite memories of Tony Bennett?

70 thoughts on “Early retirement”

  1. Last one first: I’m a rocker. Also a Hank Williams fan. My favourite Tony Bennett memory is of Hank allegedly calling Tony after Tony recorded his song, “Cold, Cold Heart.” He supposedly said, “Hey Tony, how come you ruined my song?” My sentiments also.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As an employee of the state, I was eligible to retire under the Rule of 90. I reached that milestone at the age of 56. Up until a year prior, I had not considered retiring that early – figuring I’d work until 60 or maybe 62. But that last year was a slog for many reasons. The last straw was the imminent rollout of a new computer charting system (I had already been through 2 of these changes – the computer never made charting any easier). Also, I had no long term debt – my mortgage had been paid off two years earlier and my car was paid off early. So it was an easy decision to make and I have never regretted it. Retiring made it easy to get more involved with music – accompanying choirs for Mpls Public Schools, a private children’s choir, and church choir rehearsals. Some of that was paid but most was volunteer. Yes, I had to tighten my belt for a time but have still managed to travel extensively (until Covid hit). Since Covid, I no longer volunteer with the schools but have recently resumed accompanying the children’s choir and hopefully the church choir will resume in the near future. Do I miss work? Not one bit, even though I loved it for 33 of 34 years.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Considering that, for the last twenty-five years I have been working freelance, without a fixed employer, retirement is rather a nebulous concept. I am essentially retired now, in that, with a couple of exceptions a year, I am no longer being contacted for projects. That’s OK with me. I don’t know how I’d fit work into my schedule anyway.

    Other than being generally aware of Tony Bennett, I have no memories of him, favorite or otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tony is one of my all-time favorite singers. Never got a chance to hear him in person, but no one other than Sinatra can phrase a song and imprint his own style on it like Tony.

    I haven’t had a “real job” since 1994, so I don’t plan to retire. Writing takes up enough time and keeps my attention focused and my brain engaged so that it feels like a job. But it’s not work in the “exchange my time for a company’s money” sense. (Because the money often comes months or years–or never–after the time is put in.)

    Retirement means different things to different people, so it should be a personal decision as to what retirement means and what form it takes for each person. Some people can’t imagine not working and may die on the job, happy. Others can’t wait to be done and gain their “freedom.” Whatever works for you is my philosophy.

    I’ll keep writing either until I drop or I get bored or frustrated with it. But then I’ll move on to something else (like perfecting my golf game at age 75??), whatever that may be. But I’ll never just sit and watch TV or knit or play chess down at the park day after day. Gotta do something with a purpose, hopefully, something with a positive purpose that makes the world a better place in some small way.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Chris, I think you will discover how lucky you are to be a writer. As you age, writing can become an extremely rewarding way to pass the time, only you are writing because you want to and not because you have to.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Tony Bennett was such a fixture in the entertainment industry that I just remember him as a vague presence in a lump with Lassie, Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, and Judy Garland. As a child, I was pretty focused on entertainers’ horses and and six-shooters. Tony probably had neither of those. As an adult I enjoyed his album of duets with k.d.lang.

    Regarding my own retirement, I am trying to ease my way out. I have given my employer/friend a date of 12-22. Then I will probably just work a little bit after that. With the Master Gardener opportunities there is enough to keep me very busy and provide structure. I am finding there is such an extreme shortage of clinical social workers, that it is really hard to quit. For the first time EVER, SWs are getting hiring bonuses. In the Bad Old Days we were made to feel that we had done something wrong by taking up this profession, and perhaps we should pay them to allow us to work. What a change.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I retired in October. I rather expected to keep on working until I dropped dead but the upcoming projects sapped my enthusiasm. Working off hours was no longer appealing and the negativity of workmates, company management and hospital staff became too much. I’d already worked years past normal retirement age so had full social security and Medicare with full-time pay and union benefits. I’m in modest financial situation. Covid killed off plans for travel and now this new variant looks to further delay them. Oh well. My studying birds is just fine as a retirement hobby. I have been considering volunteering at my local bird supply store. I’m in there twice a week anyway.
    Tony Bennett? Of course, the song, I Left My Heart In San Francisco. Most of us know the lyrics in the first section are almost spoken with the singing and familiar melody coming second. In an identify the song radio contest, “The” was the clue. I don’t know musical notation so cannot give you an letter or major or minor or Doe. But I knew that song and voice. The contest went on for several weeks with no correct answers. Busy signals were all I got until… “You’re caller number 3. What is your guess?”
    I knew the radio guy. “It’s not a guess, Steve. I know the song is I Left My Heart In San Francisco and now I’ve found $130.00.”

    Liked by 5 people

        1. Thst technological wedge is slowly getting thicker. I think I’m supposed to Google them, aren’t I?


  7. I always said I wouldn’t retire, but I would have to do work I enjoyed. But I drove trucks the last thirteen years, and that was NOT work that I enjoyed. Not much was, after I left the farm.
    But we came to Spain the year before I retired. We decided, as many do, we’d buy a big van, and I’d do trips back and forth, removals, whatever came up. I don’t know that many people do all that well at it, , but they don’t have Jane as a transport manager. Customer service, too, she’s great. I’d have just waited in the van. Was that a scream, a body hitting the deck? Nah, just turn the radio up. She’ll be out in a minute, all smiles, with all that cash.
    So yes, I’d just do the easy part, drive, load, drive, unload, drive etc. Sometimes I’d drive onto a ferry, fill up with food, sleep for twenty hours, fill up with food again, and drive off. I enjoy that actually. I might have a beer as well.
    But Jane decided it was a bad idea after all. We did use the van to move, and it took four trips, with me trying to hide obscure engine parts under piles of clothing. Somehow, my family seemed to know about that. I spread it over weeks, doing agency truck driving work back home, each trip. Afterwards, Jane took to telling people we bought the van because we had such high quotes from removal companies. We did the move, then sold the van, and were financial geniuses. Well it’s the most expensive way of being a financial genius that I ever came up with, short of following Donald Trump around, of course.
    She just had all these reasons why it was a bad idea. But on reflection, I didn’t want to be going up and down the road any more. It was a way of regularly getting home. Being my own boss, like I used to be. And even making some money. But, driving trucks, I’d wake up at night more and more, with agonising cramp in my calf muscles (both at the same time, for some reason), which I put down to sitting in a truck for hours, unable to stretch my legs. I’ve got a smaller, older van now, and drove to Denia and back a couple of weeks ago, about three hours driving. That cramp, which I only get occasionally now, came straight back that night. And it’s dead boring, driving on motorways, autovias, autoroutes, whatever you like to call them.
    So now I’m retired, and too busy to go to work, barring a little bit of gardening and dogsitting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, Tony Bennett. What a singer. I don’t have any special memories of him either; maybe seeing him on TV or something, but I sure do appreciate his style and those other crooners.

    Kelly realized the other day, it’s possible this might be the last 4 year class of residents and interns she’d see all the way through. I said she couldn’t retire; we need the benefits! She wasn’t very happy I crushed her dreams. And doesn’t it suck that we need the jobs just for the benefits!?
    I haven’t really thought about retiring yet… Be good to work long enough to get full benefits. I hope I’m physically able to work that long!
    Just yesterday I bought some new shirts at Savers. I didn’t realize Tuesdays are seniors days; I’m over 55! I got the discount!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. PJ, that poem you posted late yesterday is AMAZING! I have had so many conversations about the head and the heart. And it comes at a good time. I’ve shared with family.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    (His FB page, ‘Hey God, Hey John) looks pretty good too!)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This was a mildly warm political topic 30 years ago. Lots of politicans got upset with the whole idea. It got pushed to 90 for state employees and dropped for teachers. Maybe they have it now.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. OT but this irritates me.
    Just saw a PSA about drunk driving. It said alcohol “diminishes” reaction time. Think about it. A diminishing of anything means less of it. Does alcohol make stopping take less time?!
    This badly worded statement has bugged me since 1965 when in classroom driver’s training, my best buddy and I got the question “wrong”.
    We fought without success even though the teacher gave us credit for trying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How can something be twice as small? But you hear that expression all the time. We were taught to calculate this in eighth grade. One of two short arguments I had with math teacher in eighth grade. There is a book about a math teacher explain bad math in news stories.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. OT? Or NOT (Not Off Topic)? Something I’ve noticed.
    I’ve spent a lifetime working with various people. This applies less on farms, where in any case, many of my workmates were also the owner the farm. But on building sites, and in factories, warehouses, sawmills, anywhere really, I would come across many people who had no interest in the job they were doing. They were interested in the wages. Well, I admit that part is nice.
    But I haven’t come across any people like that on the Trail. Renee, you for instance may never work for anyone again. But you’ll remain highly motivated and busy, I believe.
    You all seem highly motivated.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Funny that today’s topic is retirement. I had my annual review this morning and at the end my boss asked me about retirement plans. I didn’t make any grand pronouncements but suffice it to say, that it’s probable that it may have been my last review. And that took all the anxiety out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know if it’s allowed. She didn’t come right out and say “are you thinking about retiring anytime soon”. But she has a team full of people who are getting up there. I think I’m the oldest but there are two who are pretty close. And the way that the travel division is structured now, there’s no good pool of talent once some of us start to retire.

        In the good news department, even though I’ve only been working half time since February and was furloughed for nine months prior to that, I did get the highest score allowable on my review.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I suspect that’s one of the questions that could put you on shaky legal grounds, just like asking a woman if she’s planing on starting a family anytime soon. I can understand the need for knowing this information, but if the employer’s actions result in a decision that is detrimental to the employee, all bets are off. Trust and loyalty are hard to come by in today’s work-a-day world.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. My sisiter was curriculum director in Brookings schools and her husband taught in the education department for many years. His specialty was statistics.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I had a few visions of how I would spend my retirement. But, as most of you know, those plans fell by the wayside. But one plan is fulfilled. I always imagined a mostly withdrawn life, away from very man social expectations. That was true before the pandemic.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m glad that you are staying, Renee, mostly for your city/county, but also because you seem to be fine with it.

    I pretty much retired when Husband did, 2007. I was going to keep my part time job at Birchbark Books, but I took a leave of absence when our son Joel died, and they of course replaced me… I’ve done a few odd jobs for money since then, and would work in a decent bookstore tomorrow if there were a job available.

    Same Tony Bennett song as Wes –
    My folks and I were sitting in a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor (anyone remember Shakey’s?) when I had returned from my summer adventure in San Francisco right before my college senior year. Tony’s “I Left My Heart in S. F.” came on the juke box, and my mom watched me as I teared up at the “little cable cars climbing halfway to the stars,” etc. I was back out there 3 days after graduation in June 1970.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Pineapple and saurkraut on the same pizza? Not a combo that I would consider ordering, but who knows, sometimes odd combos are inspired choices.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. i don’t like to talk about my blown retirement
    i rolled the dice and lost
    i figured i’d retire at 65 and live the good life but i blew it and i’m working longer hours doing less inspiring work to make ends meet
    once again i am a great example of how not to do it

    i have lots of ideas on start ups but i need to get them going while earning enough to cover the bases and i can’t use the sleep less answer as a solution any more

    tony bennett sang at a hardware shoe dinner show back in the 80’s i got to sit front and center at. one of those deals where dinner with 10 at a table and chicken or beef for 1000 served in 20 minutes by 100 servers and i had real good seats it was wonderful

    Somebody commented Tony must’ve been going through a divorce in order to be playing Louisville on a Thursday night and they looked it up and sure enough he was

    i love tony’s smokey rasp and comfortable

    Liked by 5 people

    1. tim, you’re blessed with a remarkably resilient and creative spirit. If anyone can pull this off, you can. I’m rooting for you to hit the jackpot.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. I’ve never been an aficionado of crooners. Their repertoire just doesn’t appeal to me. I have no special memories associated with any of them. I can appreciate, in very limited doses, the skill several of them possess, but what they do simply doesn’t appeal to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember hearing Bobby McFerrin speak of a time when he was at a concert presentation in India and while sitting in the green room with a bunch of other musicians who were upcoming players one of them asked what instrument he played and he said the voice and they all about with reverence and said all that is theMaster instrument I had never thought of it that way before and have not been able to think of it anyway other than that since

      Liked by 4 people

  17. I’ve been sort of semi-retired for years, but will probably never find it possible to retire completely. I do a little of this and a little of that to keep an income stream coming in.

    Never really could understand the appeal of Tony Bennett. Not my cup of tea, I guess.

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.