Countdown to Retirement

Last week I celebrated my 61st birthday. Had to call 9-1-1 after my house filled up with smoke. Birthday candles were not involved. Somehow, I accidnetally closed thechimney flue when adding another log to the fire. Fortunately, the only damage was the lingering smell of smoke.

Next year, retirement becomes an option. Barely. I’ll be 62 — old enough to collect Social Security. The longer I work, of course, the bigger that check will be.

Social Security won’t be my only source of income. I’ll also get a small pension from a former employer. Most of my retirement income, however, will come from tax-deferred accounts. As long as I keep working, me and my employer will continue to contribute to my retirement accounts. So the longer I work, the better off I’ll be.

I’m not eligible for the life-long job security that comes with tenure. My peformance is reviewed every January. If all’s well, I get another 12-month contract the following July 1.

Quitting ceased to be a viable option years ago. Finding another job after 45ish is a frightening prospect. Starting over somehwere else is equally appealing. For all intents and purposes, I’m stuck until I can retire.

Once changing jobs ceased to be an option, getting fired before I could retire became my biggest fear. Though my job has never been at risk, I get anxious about the yearly review. Surviving my most recent review means I’ve made it. My new contract extends through June 2020.

Retiring the first chance I get has long been my goal. Now that it’s a realistic option, I’m having second thoughts. Teaching is a new and exciting challenge. The issues that made me want to quit in the past have largely been resolved.

I’m enjoying myself. If work stops being fun, I can always retire. Until then, I might as well stay. Right?