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Is It OK To Miss Work?

 When I was working, pretty much everyone over the age of 50 talked incessantly about their pending retirement. It got to the point where I would cut people off and ask them to stop talking about it. It's one thing to be not fully in the present and anticipate the future. It means a certain loss of focus and appreciation on the moment that we have, and by missing that moment we lose the opportunity to ever experience it again. The future holds other moments but, if we keep looking past them, our life becomes a stream of discontent. I know that we all do this to some degree at some times in our lives. But the focus on retirement for so many people seemed to border on the obsessive. To look forward to not working seems to be the ultimate American dream. And to express doubts about the benefits of not working, the joys it will bring, seems a sort of betrayal to the promise of America that we grew up with. I've always seen our culture as a weird hybrid between a relentless Calvinis
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How To Apply For Social Security

 If you are approaching retirement age, you should know your rights and have thought through your options before you sign up to collect your hard earned social security benefit. A great way to learn about social security benefits is to access the federal government ’s social security website. The first page is titled “ Learn .” On it you can find information about: How retirement benefits work How to plan for retirement Determining your eligibility for social security Verifying your earnings history Estimating your expected benefit Determining at what age to start collecting your benefit The second section of the website describes how to apply for benefits. Topics include: Information you need to gather before you apply How to apply How far in advance you may apply Applying online Applying at a local office Applying by phone How to check you application status after you have applied How to appeal a decision How to withdraw your application The final section of the website is on manag

But It Feels Like Work!

 There's a certain happiness in not having to get up for work five days a week. You can enjoy turning in for the night without setting your alarm clock. You can, if you want, have a cup of coffee at nine o'clock at night knowing that if it keeps you up till two in the morning, that's okay. You can take your shower in the morning after your 2nd cup of coffee. You don't have to eat a hurried breakfast at six thirty or seven o'clock, you can wait until ten. Does it really matter if you don't eat lunch until three? When you think about driving to the coast, or to the mountains, or to see your kids in Eugene, and it's already too late to get started, why, you can just do that tomorrow. When you worked, and the weekend rolled around, you had flyfishing to attend to, you had places to go, things you wanted to do. "You're getting older," you tell yourself, "how many good weekends do you still have left on your calendar?" Did you really want t

It Takes Two

 I worked a few years longer than most of my friends and I had several of them tell me that it took them two years to adjust to retirement. Of course, I laughed at this, thinking: "how hard could it be to get used to not setting an alarm clock?"  To be honest, my retirement decision was a bit haphazard. I wasn't sure that I could afford to retire economically due to a wildly misspent youth that continued up into my mid 50s, and so I was prepared to work until I was 70 or 71, maybe even 72, if necessary to assure a secure retirement.  A couple of things happened. My wife, who is a few years younger than me, was working as a registered nurse. She had spent most of her nursing career on the floor of hospitals, an emotionally and physically taxing job. Her last several years of work were from home as an advice nurse, which was a break, physically, but which, in the end, may have been even more demanding. Without coworkers for support, or at least a cohort of people to gripe t

I'm Retired, Now What?

Well, it’s been six months since I left work for the last time.  I wish I could say that I was one of those people who carefully planned their life so that when retirement came it would have been with a complete plan in place and total financial security. But I wasn’t. It worked out OK, in the end. But, I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety and maybe quit work a few years sooner if had been more careful about taking the steps everyone talks about taking during our working years - making a budget, living within our means and avoiding the credit trap. I guess it’s easier said than done when you have kids and live in a high cost of living area in a high cost of living state.  Over the next few months I’ll be looking for articles to help retirees and future retirees avoid some of my mistakes and also to help folks learn from what I did well. With rare exceptions I think we are all pretty much a mixed bag when it comes to planning our financial futures. The other parts of retirement we

Welcome to Oregon Retirees

 The retiree chapter of Oregon AFSCME Council 75 is upgrading our web presence to include a new website at  where you can read the news about retirement in Oregon, changes in law at the state and federal level and local initiatives that may impact your healthcare and other issues of importance to retirees and our families.  An important part of our program is to be able to hear from you and read your comments on important issues of the day. This post is our first on our new blog. Welcome to all. If you have questions or if there is information you would like us to provide please mention it in the comments.