Listening to the Voices of Experience
A study 30 years in the making
#1: Share your vision
Of those who share their retirement vision
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Christine: I really didn't plan for retirement when I was married to my first husband because he never thought beyond the moment.
David: My first wife was much like her husband, who just spent every penny. When we were first involved with TIAA, we were not married to each other and really had no firm expectations of what wonderful experiences we'd have together in this new relationship. It seems like now I have a life, now I have a future. Now things are looking forward.
Christine: We're both careful. We're both cautious. But we save for the things we want to do. We just came back from a wonderful trip to Italy.
David: When we retired, we were very fortunate to have the TIAA annuity. That was a vital part in our retirement.
Christine: Because you wouldn't have to worry about having a steady income. I guess what it boils down to is that money doesn't make you happy; relationships do. But you have to have enough not to worry.
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I grew up in Chautauqua High, which was a small community where everyone knew everyone. I attended Miami University, Middletown and Oxford campus. I had got a summer co-op job with the Ohio Department of Transportation and I stayed with State of Ohio DOT for almost 30 years.
I decided to retire and everybody said, 'Why would you want to retire at almost 47 years old?' And I said, "Why not? I can be productive in other areas after retirement."
When we relocated to Appleton, I started as a volunteer driver for Allegany County Volunteer Services. We are driving people that don't have mass transit available to maybe a doctor's appointment or someone is having a supervised visit with a social worker and their child.
David, thank you so much for transporting.
And then on the mentoring/mentee program is set up to help children and young adults between 7 to 17 years that may be from broken homes. So I'm trying to be a positive male influence for my 15-year-old mentee and it's just as rewarding volunteering as it was working in the public sector.
Toughest part was the 90-degree angles.
Yeah, it looks great. Fantastic work.
I saw my mom. She paid all the bills. And she taught me how to manage money and to be frugal. And so Jean Marie and I have been very frugal, both of us participating in our retirement portfolio for future needs and I was just so thrilled that, when I was working for a part-time job and I was permitted to get into their 403(b) and it just so happened to be TIAA was one of the options.
We have to take care of ourselves for our future. And the way to do that is to pay yourself each payday, with your first job to your last job. Because you'll be retired sooner than you think.
Retirement, to me, is all about giving back to those in need in our society.
This story describes the circumstances and experiences of a specific participant from one of the companies in the TIAA organization ("TIAA"). It may not be representative of the experience of other TIAA customers and is not indicative of future performance or success. Individual results and experiences will vary.
Investment, insurance and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, are not deposits are not insured by any federal government agency, are not a condition to any banking service or activity, and may lose value.
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Doing what you love in retirement
View From the Top
Music Option 1
I grew up in Brooklyn in a city housing project and I was what today you would call a nerd. I graduated Cornell University with a Ph.D. in physics and I started working for the government.
I was an experimental scientist, so I did a lot of work in the lab. I met my wife, Darlene, at a Navy laboratory.
I retired from the federal government in 1998 and I immediately started working for CalTech, which was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
When I retired from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I was ready to start a whole new phase of my life and so I started doing my wood carving full-time. The thing I like about wood is that it was once alive and it has life-giving qualities. Different woods feel different. They have different colors, they have different weights.
Before I start a project, I usually find a piece of wood and, every once in a while, I'm looking at a piece and I see what I want to do with it. The wood is telling me what to carve rather than me imposing a shape or something on the wood.
I carve birds primarily, in fact almost entirely, because I have birds. I have pet birds. My wife, Darlene, had a pet bird, she had a parakeet when she was growing up. Today we have 14 of them and I love the birds.
I have two big messages that I've learned in my life that apply to retirement. You don't retire from a job or from a position. You retire to your passion. And make sure that your financial situation is stable and is going to protect you in the future. Being frugal, learning how to save money, learning the value of investing-all of those things got me aimed in the right direction. And then, when I started working for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I had a 403(b) account with TIAA and I put as much money as I could into it.
Having grown up in a city housing project, I've got a house I designed, I live on property that I love. I've got everything I want and so I'm really enjoying retirement now.
This article/story contains edited excerpts of an interview that describes the circumstances, opinions, and experiences of a specific participant from one or more of the companies in the TIAA organization ("TIAA"). The circumstances, opinions, and experiences depicted may not be representative of the circumstances, opinions, and experiences of other TIAA customers and are not indicative of future performance or success. Individual results and experiences will vary.
#3: Make an income plan
Income for life