After watching many of my friends and co-workers leave over the years as part of the annual March exodus, and as I reached the 30-year mark in my own career, it was only natural to start asking the following questions:
- When should I retire?
- When do I marry? (My wife and I have now been married for just over a year.)
- Where do I live? Would I consider moving out of state, or out of the country?
- What about taxes? How much money will we have?
- What about medical insurance? What about our Horizons account?
- What do we want to do: travel, volunteer or work?
Thankfully, all of the above questions have available answers, but do require some organization, discussion, reflection and, most importantly, planning. The best advice I have found comes from three sources: LACERA, retired PPOA members who have already gone into the final frontier ahead of us and, of course, family.
LACERA is the optimal source of retirement information for resources like calculating your income, legal issues (such as beneficiary support) and medical insurance availability and limitations — which is especially important to those leaving California. No matter where you are in your career, take the time to either attend a group seminar or schedule a one-on-one appointment soon. Retirement takes planning, which you can only achieve by collecting the information you need to get started. Time is fleeting, but definitely works in your favor the earlier you begin the process.
PPOA retirees provide a great resource as to what you can expect from the actual lifestyle after your career ends. These individuals offer tremendous insight on how to transition, advice for overcoming various obstacles you may encounter and their own personal experiences from which to pull. Every L.A. County retiree I have spoken with says retirement is the “best job ever,” and they are living out their retirements everywhere. In fact, more than 500 retired PPOA members live out of state, including in the top five most popular destinations: Arizona (120), Nevada (85), Idaho (47), Oregon (42) and Washington (40). And some, believe it or not, stay in California. Regardless of where members retire, they travel, start businesses, raise grandchildren (and sometimes their own children) and a very valued few even continue their involvement with the PPOA, for which we are extremely grateful.
The most important component of planning your retirement is considering your family’s needs: What obligations accompany you in retirement? Are your millennials still living at home? Where are your parents and will they need your assistance? Is your spouse ready to retire, and if not, how much longer do they plan on working? How much income will you need to live comfortably? Will your plans or hobbies require any preparation?
Thankfully, those of us at PPOA are here to help. With a very experienced staff, numerous resources for life planning and a large population of retiree members, we are here to offer any information, advice or insight we can to assist you in your retirement planning.