Sunday, December 26, 2010


It's Sunday, Dec. 26, and the start of my final week on the job. Because I work in a 24/7 business, and nights at that, I was at work Christmas night, though I did have Christmas Eve off. I will work Monday through Friday this week, including New Year's Eve on a 4-midnight shift. I have seen a lot of New Year's Eve midnights from my desk.

Then, on Saturday, I begin what I've referred to as the Seven-Day Weekend. I also tell people I'm about to be chronically unemployed -- forever.

At our place, paydays are alternate Fridays, with the pay period being the two weeks ending with the Sunday before payday. I will get a better-than-average paycheck (because of holiday pay) on Friday, launching the new year and retirement with a nice extra bit in the bank account. Because a new pay period begins Monday and I will work one week in it, I will have a single-week paycheck on Jan. 14.

I have two annuities that pay me on the third of each month and Social Security will be paid on the fourth Wednesday of each month (because my birthday is the 25th of the month), starting in February with a short check and full checks starting in March.

My calculations say I will be OK financially until the full checks start coming in. I'd better be; that's all the income I'll have until then.

As for some other aspects of the newly-retired, a friend retired almost five years (though she's younger by 5 months than I; had a better setup through the Railroad Retirement Board) told me that for the first couple of weeks, it will seem like a vacation because I have had two-week vacations previously. After that, it's the Seven-Day Weekend, or maybe just chronic unemployment.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making it official

So, last weekend's mail (I'm not sure what day; I was away Friday and Saturday) brought my official U.S. notifications of retirement: a letter from Social Security telling me what I would receive and when, plus, in another envelope, my Medicare card.

Then, yesterday, my boss announced my Dec. 31 retirement first in a departmental meeting and then in an officewide e-mail.

Some of my co-workers were shocked, some acted as though my leaving was both unheard of and would be a hardship and one was actually distraught.

Long ago, as younger people would leave the company for new jobs, I coined the phrase "You can't wipe the smile off the face of a short-timer." Now, it's my face and my smile.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pre- Beginning

Today is Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. It is my son's -- he's my youngest -- 39th birthday. One week from today, Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day, is my 65th birthday.

And today, I got a double birthday present: My boss let me know my job ends Dec. 31. And that's when Retirement - Year 1 really begins.

This was not unexpected. Earlier this week, I signed up for Social Security and Medicare benefits, effective Jan. 1. My first SS check is to arrive Feb. 23, 2011.

My purpose in this post is to chronicle how a guy of very average -- maybe even below average -- means can make it through the transition year from employed to his new, lifetime, job of retirement. Primarily, it will focus on the financial aspects.

Between now and Jan. 1, I will probably post some more pre-retirement information but the real "job" of being retired won't start for another month and a half. Until then, this blog will be mostly quiet.