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Welcome to Retirement!

By: Melody Glisper

What are you going to do now? The most frequently asked question I’ve received since announcing, in September, that I would be retiring in December 2017. I chose my retirement date three months ahead to inform my family and friends of the event. They continued to ask what I would do! My idea of retirement was to do nothing. I didn’t want to be awakened by a clock. I didn’t want a set schedule to rule my day!

In my family there was only one uncle who retired from the American company. He never offered or gave advice on how retirement worked. To me, he worked twenty-five years on one job then went to worked on another job somewhere else. I got my first job in 1969 and planned to work twenty-five years then switch to another job. However, I’ve worked several jobs: Summer Camp Councilor, After School Tutor, Store Clerk that promoted to Assistant Manager, Teacher’s Aide, Fast Food Clerk, Baby Sitter and School Crossing Guard.

I began my civil service career at the Department of Motor vehicles in 1983. The money was the greatest pay I’ve ever received. Having no real concept of saving for the future I spent money like it was water! In the year 2000, I met a person who asked me “When do you plan to retire?”. My first thought was “Black people don’t retire…they work until they die.” He taught me a lesson…a person can’t teach what they don’t know. Through his organization I learned about switching my mortgage from variable to fixed rate. From then I’ve lowered my mortgage from over $269,000.00 to less than $60,000.00. Also, I’ve learned about savings, the different functions and how to save with purpose. I set up a Roth IRA to save money for retirement, and an emergency fund to reduce borrowing when an unexpected problem pops up. Restructuring my spending habits, I was able to “eliminate” my debt reduction plan and save for retirement.

I now encourage young people to find a qualified Financial Planner to assist them with their own plan. And a tax expert who keeps up with new & current laws. The earlier you start the more settled your retirement will be. I worked twenty-one years before I started a plan. Can you imagine how much more I would have saved? Watch your spending habits. A little Savings goes a long way over time. Enjoy your life and stay in the moment. Find a hobby that will outlast your working years. You can, take up a hobby or fulfill a hidden desire to do something you haven’t tried before. Others may give you hints and ideas of what to do, however never give up your right to choose what you are going to do. One of my hobbies is to write poetry and prose. It was hard to keep working on the same job for a long period of time. After three years I had a struggle with staying on the same on the job since I changed so many times before. I thought I’m over thirty and whose is going to hire me? This happened again on my tenth and twenty-fifth years at DMV. On a break one day this poem came to my mind.

“Insane Could Love”

Of all the places I could work

I chose the DMV

So, when the lines get long, and the customers act like a mob

I remind myself I asked for this job

Because I am not a quitter and refuse to except defeat

I help the sour and bitter in order to get to help the sweet

At the end of every day I thank the man above

For allowing me to work in the office that only the insane could love.

I was warned about someone who sat still, and soon died. I was warned of others who went out of their gourd and went back into the workforce. I’m not faced with that dilemma because I also have a “life in Christ”. The work that the Lord has begun in my life is yet going on. The Lord has taken care of my financial needs so that now I can function freely in my church and community. Doing nothing means no work force. Now my work is deeds, not for a paycheck. 

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