Thursday, December 14

Can I Really Afford to be Reired

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Those Retirement Years Might Just Get Tougher

Fortunately for me, I was able to retire at age 55 from the General Electric Outdoor Lighting Division.The early retirement option was something I had not anticipated because in our plant there were many other workers ahead of me from a seniority standpoint but my age was the deciding factor, I was 55 on October 25 and met the criteria for SERO. Having worked almost 30 years I can’t say I had any regrets retiring and for the most part it has been a positive experience but with the six weeks paid vacation, 11 paid holidays, full insurance paid in part by the corporation and other corporate benefits, my retirement and that of others brought a huge benefit and a savings to my company.

I also have rheumatoid arthritis which was discovered when I had to have bi-lateral knee replacements in early 2003. I had the replacements in March and returned to work in early July with some physical limitations associated with my new Titanium knee joints. While I was recovering from my knee surgery my other joints began to freeze and soon after going back to my job which required constant lifting, I knew my right shoulder joint would also require a replacement surgery if I was to have any quality and semblance of a normal life.

I found out I was on the list for SERO, a special early retirement option offered by GE at contract negotiations held in June 2003. I had some reservations but ultimately decided accept the SERO and have my shoulder replaced. I retired on December 1st 2003 and my right shoulder joint replaced the same day as my retirement was to begin. This will soon be seven years. I applied for and received a Social Security disability. After all who is going to hire a bionic man. Even though disabled I was able to find a couple of part time jobs and volunteered at the county branch library near my home. Family situations soon required I be at home and I have not worked part time in several years now.

Today I am beginning to have second thoughts even though I probably would be unable to hold a physically demanding job as I once did. Slowly I am seeing my income eroded by higher gasoline prices, food prices, and the cost of medications rising. If I did not have the insurance from my former job, I could not take advantage of the new arthritis medications which cost the insurance company about $12000 per year.

I’m sure I am not alone and there are others who like me will soon be forced to try and find a job, maybe at a Wal-Mart or a bag boy at the grocery store. At any rate I must consider my options and trust in the Lord to continue to supply our needs.

Have you retired recently? Do you plan to go back to work or will you need to find a part time job to supplement your retirement pensions?


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