ShareThis Page

Retirement in phases an option

| Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

I won't say which one, but I just had a birthday roll around, and as a member of the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), I am noticing that a lot of us are not following the traditional “here today, gone tomorrow” retirement plan.

Instead, it seems a lot of folks are “seguing” into retirement.

Take Jim Hazen, Ph.D., a long-time self-employed organizational development consultant in Wexford, who says he started seguing out of his business three years ago. When he sold it last month, he retired at age 66. Hazen and his wife are devoting themselves to a farm that boasts 50 chickens, eight goats and four cats, with more animals to come. He says, “After many years of traveling for business, it was a conscious lifestyle choice to become a ‘gentleman farmer' and do all the things I couldn't do before.”

At 87, Velma Walls of Port Vue works part-time. She may not be a baby boomer, but she is a great example of seguing into retirement. After raising her family, Walls worked in a department store, then in 1982, joined her son David's business when he purchased The Carriage Inn Restaurant in Lincoln Boro. Originally, she was the full-time bookkeeper, but over the years, she scaled back to two days a week. She fills her spare time with church activities and staying fit. Walls says, “I was just thinking this morning that I have a contented life, and I would not want to change a thing.”

Helen Spagna of McMurray, 61, was a pharmacist who cut back to part-time employment 18 months ago. While pondering whether to fully retire, she read a fortune cookie that resonated with her. It said, “Sometimes money costs too much.” She retired within weeks.

Most people who work for a traditional employer don't have the luxury of retiring in phases. But for those who work for themselves or for a family-owned business, flexibility is more common.

While I don't plan to retire anytime soon, sometimes I ponder what I could do that would interest me as much as my consulting business. For now, I have concluded that anywhere I could communicate, encourage, teach, preach, coach or advocate would be ideal for me. That could take many forms: a CASA advocate for children entangled in the legal system; foster parenting; job search coaching for a nonprofit; or ministry at Heaven's Family, where I occasionally help out.

I've been reading plenty of books on retirement planning, and here are several I recommend:

• “Life Reimagined,” (Richard J. Leider and Alan M. Webber, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2013)

• “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” (Ernie J. Zelinski, VIP Books, 2013)

• “Encore Career Handbook,” (Marci Alboher, Workman Publishing, 2013)

• “The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement,” (Jan Cullinane, John Wiley & Sons, 2012)

• “What Color Is Your Parachute For Retirement,” (John E. Nelson and Richard N. Bolles, Ten Speed Press, 2010).

List those who have gone before you. Who carved out a life that appeals to you? List how you could contribute at any age. Take stock of where your personality, values and interests intersect. What paths would afford you opportunities to capitalize on who you are? If you're uncertain, work with a career coach to map a strategy.

Chris Posti is president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh. She can be reached at 724-344-1668.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.