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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: retirement, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 25
1. Brexit, business, and the role of migration for an ageing UK

John Shropshire used to farm celery just in Poland. Why? Because celery production is labour intensive and Poland had abundant available labour. However, he now also farms in the Fens, Cambridgeshire. Why? Because the EU Single Market gives him access to the labour he needs. Not cheap labour – John pays the living wage to his workers – but available seasonal migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe – 2500 of them.The strawberries enjoyed at Wimbledon are picked by similar labour, so are the hops in our British brewed beer.

The post Brexit, business, and the role of migration for an ageing UK appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. The View from the Other Side

Pixabay image
I retired from my job as Youth Services Manager at the end of SLP this year. What's it like?

Not surprisingly, it's been great fun and the best stress-reducer known to humankind. Though I worked to keep stress under control and made lots of decisions to keep things balanced (forgoing some things; saying no to others; passing offers on to other youth librarians; working on some work things at home to leave more time for co-workers during the work day), work stress is just one of those things that was part of my day-to-day. Can't say I miss it.

Many friends said it would feel like vacation. It doesn't. It feels like freedom.

Lingering warm weather allowed me to have an extra run at summer, a season I felt unfamiliar with after SLPs entered my life. It's good to make her reacquaintance. Nature has been my balm and I was able to plunge in with hikes, bikes and adventures in this beautiful driftless region and northern parts of my new state MN.

I read - alot. I cook - alot. I visit and help with friends and family - alot. I take my time - alot. Time does tick down from here (one doesn't usually retire because one is young) but more slowly and at a more measured rate.

I found that I retired from a job, not from a career. While I am lots more relaxed, I still keep my fingers in library "stuff" - but at a pace that allows me to finally do all.the.things.

I realize now- in a huge way - that because of my longtime outside commitments in professional associations, presentations, teaching and consulting, almost all my work weeks were 60-65 hours. There was my 40 hours paid for by my library. For all those other outside things, all the prep and doing was done in home-time (good morning 4 a.m!; hello long weekends of prepping sessions; why I'd love to work at that after supper until 10 pm; oh a vacation week to stay at home and put this course together, that's swell). Lucky I was - and am  - to have a supportive partner! Now I have all the time in the world to put this stuff together since all my time is my own. Feels good!

I'm most excited to be embarking on a long-time dream. I will be the youth services system consultant for the Southwest (WI) Library system libraries on a very part-time basis for 2016 while they transition into a more permanent consultant position for 2017. I look forward to delving into work with the youth staffers and directors who-do-everything and lending a helping hand.

I'll still be seeing lots of you. I'm on the ALSC Sibert Award committee so my reading will turn to youth non-fiction in 2016 and ALA conferences remain on the agenda. I will be working on lots of teaching, webinars and presentations in the next year. I pumped to help contribute to planning for a national youth librarian leadership/management conference sponsored by UW-Madison SLIS and scheduled for April 3-4, 2017 (there will lots more on that soon!).

Blogging will occur at the same languid pace I've adopted in the past year or so. I promise to stay in touch and hope you will too.

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3. Say It Ain’t Sayonara, Miyazaki

Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, 72, has retired, say reports from the Venice Film Festival. The announcement was made by Koji Hoshino, the president of Studio Ghibli. “Miyazaki has decided that Kaze Tachinu will be his last film and he will now retire,” Hoshino said.

As industry observers know, this is not the first time that Miyazaki or someone from his camp has announced his retirement. We posed the question on Twitter, and most people seem to believe that Miyazaki has announced his retirement at least three times.

Hoshino promised that more details would be revealed at a press conference next week in Tokyo.

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4. Watch A Video of Hayao Miyazaki Announcing His Retirement From Feature Animation

Earlier today in Tokyo, Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki held a press conference attended by over 600 journalists to formally announce his retirement. He acknowledged that he has said he would quit before: “I’ve mentioned that I would retire many times in the past, so a lot of you must be thinking ‘Oh, not again.’ But this time I am quite serious.”

Miyazaki explained his reasons for why he no longer wants to direct animated features:

I’m not sure you all know exactly what an animation director does. And even if you say ‘animation director’ everyone has their own way of working. I started as an animator, so I have to draw. If I don’t draw, I can’t express myself.

So what happens is, I have to take my glasses off and draw like this. I would have to do that forever. No matter how physically fit and healthy you are, it’s a fact that year after year the amount of time you’re able to concentrate on that decreases. I have experienced this personally, so I know. So, for example I leave my desk 30 minutes earlier compared to during Ponyo. Next I guess it’ll be one hour earlier than that.

Those physical issues that occur with age, there’s nothing you can do about them, and hating them doesn’t make a difference. There’s the opinion that i should just do things a different way, but if I could do that I would have already done a long time ago, so I can’t. Therefore, all I can do is persist in doing things on my terms, and I made the call that feature films would be impossible.

Miyazaki is leaving feature animation on a high note. His new film Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) is Japan’s top-grossing film of 2013. At the conference, Miyazaki said that he will continue going into the studio “as long as I can drive and commute back and forth between my home and the studio.” He expects to work for at least another ten years on projects of his choosing, but refused to divulge what those might be, other than hinting that he would become more involved with organizing exhibitions at the Ghibli Museum.

In a self-effacing moment, one of many during the conference, he related what happened when he told his wife that he was retiring:

So, this is the way the conversation about my retirement with my wife went—I said, “Please keep making my bento,” and she said, “Hmph…at your age it’s unheard of to have someone still making your lunch everyday.” So I said, “I am terribly sorry, but I’ll still leave it to you.” I don’t know if I said it that politely.

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5. Miyazaki’s Retirement Commemorated with 6-Second Vines

Indonesian animator Pinot created a series of Vines to commemorate the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki. You’ve got to hand it to him: he understands the value of every frame and how to get the most out of his six seconds. Pinot explained his love of Miyazaki’s work in an article on Mashable:

My father is a comic illustrator and animator. He followed Walt Disney’s technique and style — always with 24 frames-per-second and all moving objects, even for faces and mouths. ‘In animation, every object has soul. So we move everything except the background,’ he would tell me. He never liked Japanese anime style with its stiff objects and fewer frames per second.

Then, Hayao Miyazaki changed everything. Miyazaki proved that animation with fewer frames could also tell great stories. Best of all, Miyazaki brought a new type of childhood fantasy — not the usual tale of Prince Charming. His stories deliver messages of ecological problems, nature-life reality and strong, high-functioning families. As parents of three kids, I am happy to have Miyazaki’s movies fuel their creativity — a great balance for the fare of Disney princesses.

One of my favorite quote[s] from Miyazaki: ‘Hand drawing on paper is the fundamental of animation.’ Most people claim they cannot draw, but I’m sure [they] have doodled on a napkin paper. People don’t realize when their hand holds a pen and dances on paper to create swirly lines, they’re creating animation.

How does Pinot do it? Don’t worry, there’s a behind-the-scenes Vine, too:

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6. Does workplace stress play a role in retirement drinking?

Alcohol misuse among the retired population is a phenomenon that has been long recognized by scholars and practitioners. The retirement process is complex, and researchers posit that the pre-retirement workplace can either protect against—or contribute to—alcohol misuse among retirees.

The prevalence of alcohol misuse among older workers is staggering. In the United States, the rate of heavy drinking (i.e., more than seven drinks per week or two drinks on any one occasion) among those aged 65 and older is calculated to be at 10% for men and 2.5% for women, with some studies estimating the frequency of alcohol misuse among older (i.e., age 50 and older) as 16% or higher. Yet another study makes the case that 10% of all alcoholics are over 60. As a point of reference, the incidence of frequent heavy drinking in the workforce (US) is 9.2% and rate of alcohol abuse is 5.4%.

Estimates of future problem drinking and predictions of how prevalence rates may rise may be underestimated, not only because of the aging of the population, but also because of shifting societal and cultural norms. There is evidence that individuals follow relative stable drinking patterns as they age. If this is the case, the Baby Boomer generation may show a higher prevalence of alcohol problems as they enter later life than their parents and grandparents. Moreover, some research suggests that the frequency and severity of alcohol misuse may increase in aging populations, especially among individuals with a history of drinking problems.

Recent research has suggested that retirement drinking may be influenced by workplace factors.

Richman, Zlatoper, Zackula, Ehmke, and Rospenda (2006) investigated the role of aversive workplace conditions that could influence drinking behavior among retirees: sexual harassment, generalized workplace abuse, and psychological workload. The analysis of a longitudinal study of employees at a Midwestern university shows that retirees who had experienced high levels of stress drank more than their counterparts who were still employed (and who were still experiencing a stressful workplace). This pattern held even in relation to a comparison between stressed and non-stressed workers. The study suggests that for those still employed, workplace norms and regulations may inhibit the use of alcohol as a means of self-medication in response to highly stressful experiences, retirement removes the social controls that curtailed drinking while the individual was in the workforce.

Retirement of Porter Ted Humphreys, 1968. Public domain via LSE Library.

Bacharach, Bamberger, Biron, & Horowitz-Rozen (2008) examined the role that positive work conditions might have on the retirement-drinking relationship, positing that pre-retirement job satisfaction might interact with retirement agency to affect retirees’ drinking behavior. Using data from a NIH-funded ten-year study of retirement-eligible and retired workers, the research team found a positive association between “push” perceptions and both the quantity and frequency of drinking (though not drinking problems), and an inverse association between “pull” perceptions and both drinking frequency and drinking problems (though not quantity). The study also found that greater job satisfaction amplified the positive association between “push” perceptions and alcohol consumption, and attenuated the inverse association between “pull” perceptions and unhealthy or problematic drinking. This moderating effect of pre-retirement job valence suggests that people who are most satisfied with their jobs are likely to fare worst in response to the stress of a retirement that is unplanned or undesired. Even when retirement is the result of personal volition, it may still be associated with a sense of loss and negative emotions for which alcohol may serve as a coping mechanism.

Bacharach, Bamberger, Doveh and Cohen (2007) examined how the social availability of alcohol in and around the workplace prior to retirement may have divergent effects on older adult drinking behavior. Bacharach et al. found that problem drinkers—after retiring from a workplace with permissive drinking norms—drank less over the first two years of retirement. This population not only left the workplace, but they also dropped their regular association with coworkers who supported and encouraged drinking behavior. The findings suggest that for those with a history of problem drinking, retirement may be linked to a net decline in the severity of drinking problems.

To assess the degree to which this decline in problem drinking may be attributed to separating from a permissive workplace drinking culture, the team examined shifts in the extent of the problem-drinking cohort’s social support networks during the study period. Findings suggest that the decline in problem drinking severity was apparent among those whose social networks became smaller in retirement. Conversely, for the small number whose social networks expanded in retirement, problem drinking severity increased. The nature of the retirement-problem drinking relationship, at least for baseline problem drinkers, may be contingent upon the social availability of alcohol in the work environment from which they disengage.

While there is a lack of research demonstrating the role of strain as a mediator linking these stressors to shifts in older adults’ drinking behavior, a substantial body of evidence examining the role of stress in the origin and intensification of alcohol use and misuse suggests that strain is likely to serve as the intermediary mechanism. To the extent that strain plays such a mediating role, the same network factors are likely to also operate as vulnerability or protective moderating factors in this second stage of the mediation. As suggested by Bacharach et al. (2007), the impact of disengagement-related strain on older adults’ drinking behavior is likely to vary depending upon whether they exit into a non-work social network with more or less permissive drinking norms than those associated with their workplace or occupation.

The post Does workplace stress play a role in retirement drinking? appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Best Internet: "Slow" Grandparents?

I certainly don't like the word "retarded" when used with people, but this is funny, and it's certainly not the first time around that I have seen it...

"RETARDED"GRANDPARENTS ...Written by a third grader, on what his grandparents do.

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holidayaway from school. One child wrote the following:
We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa.  They usedto live in a big brick house with a dog and kitty, but Grandpa got retarded andthey moved to Arizona.

Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green tolook like grass and no pets allowed.  They ride around on their bicycles,and wear name tags, because they don't know who they are anymore.  They goto a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because itis all okay now, they do exercises there, but they don't do them verywell.  There is a swimming pool too, but they all jump up and down in itwith hats on.  At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old mansitting in it.  He watches all day so nobody can escape.

Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golfcarts.  Nobody there cooks, they just eat out.  And they eat the samething every night - early birds.   Some of the people can't get outpast the man in the little doll house.  The ones who do get out, bringfood back to the wrecked center for pot luck.  

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8. Legislators’ Pension Spikes as Broken Windows: The Connecticut Example

By Edward Zelinsky

Connecticut’s new governor, Dannel P. Malloy, has appointed six sitting members of the Nutmeg State’s General Assembly to positions in the executive branch. These gubernatorial appointments have engendered a fair amount of discussion since special elections will be required to fill the legislative vacancies resulting from these appointments.

There has, however, been no public discussion of the pension implications of these appointments. Under Connecticut’s retirement plans for government employees, relatively brief service in executive positions results in significant spikes in legislators’ state pensions. This phenomenon is not unique to Connecticut.

The issue of legislators’ pension spikes suggests how difficult it will be for state governments to curb their unruly pension costs. Legislators’ pension spikes are the broken windows of the state pension crisis, emblems of underlying fiscal disorder.

While the details are complex, the basic arithmetic is not: Connecticut state employees (including legislators) are covered by contributory defined benefit pension plans. These plans provide “final average” pensions, meaning that a participant’s pension is based on the highest salary he earns during his last three years of state employment.

To take a simplified, but substantively accurate, example, suppose that a Connecticut legislator serves for twenty years at a constant salary of $30,000 per year. Suppose further that the state’s defined benefit pension plan pays this legislator a retirement annuity equal to his final salary multiplied by one percent for each of his years of state service. In this case, the legislator is entitled to a retirement annuity of $6,000 yearly because $30,000 X 20% = $6,000.

Now suppose that this same individual spends seventeen years in the General Assembly and then works in the executive branch for the last three years of his state career at an annual salary of $100,000. Under the retirement plan’s final average formula, the legislator’s final average salary spikes and thus so does his pension. In this simplified example, the three years of full-time executive branch employment rachet the former legislator’s state pension from $6,000 annually to $20,000 yearly because $100,000 x 20% = $20,000.

In effect, the former legislator’s last three years of full-time executive service at a salary of $100,000 retroactively balloon the value of his first seventeen years of relatively low-paid, part-time legislative service. The result is a tripling of the former legislator’s pension even though he only works at the higher salary for the last three of twenty years in state government. The legislator gets the same pension as does a Connecticut state employee who, over his twenty year career, consistently earned a full-time salary of $100,000.

Another way of characterizing this pension spike is that the governor bestows upon this former legislator a signing bonus for joining the executive branch of state government. Since he works for the governor at the higher executive salary, the former legislator’s state pension increases more than three-fold during his relatively short executive branch service.

Quantifying this signing bonus as a lump sum involves many details and qualifications, such as assumed interest rates, life expectancies, and other actuarial variables. However, under conservative assumptions, in this simplified example, the present value of the former legislator’s increased pension is at least several hundred thousand dollars. Frequently, in practice, the amounts involved are even more.

If Governor Malloy had granted each of his appointees from the General Assembly a $200,000 check as a signing bonus, the public outcry would have been overwhe

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9. Kutztown Children's Literature Conference

Time to rave about children's literature, the people who produce it and the people who love it-(that would be ME!)

Beth Krommes, Pat Mora, Linda Sue Park and Jerry Pinkney all presented to an enthusiastic crowd of teachers, librarians and kids book afficianados  at Kutztown University yesterday for their thirteenth annual Children's Literature Conference.

Here are some highlights:  Beth passed around her Caldecott medal so all of us could hold it, turn it over and see the reverse side.  We all see Caldecott's famous illustration of a man riding a horse on the gold seals on picture book covers.  I never knew another Caldecott illustration decorated the reverse.  I was thrilled to hold it.

Sitting next to Pat Mora at lunch.  She's delightful!  Her presentation was wonderful as well and she reminded us how very important it is to welcome diversity in our classrooms and libraries.

Linda Sue Park's Top Ten Things that Happen When you Win the Newbery Award was hilarious.  Bring this woman into your schools whenever you can.  She is a lively speaker and will keep your audience captivated.

The rain pounding on the roof as Jerry Pinkney showed his slides for Noah's Ark.  He couldn't have planned that to happen.  What a nice, nice man, Jerry Pinkney is! and what a huge talent.  Meeting him was a thrill.

I also enjoyed presenting book reviews to a nice crowd of teachers and librarians.  (I've posted the booklist on my Scribd account and someday I will learn how to link to that.)

Many, many thanks to the committee that made the conference possible especially Dr. Sycherz and, of course, Dr. Robert Dorney, the guiding light for the conference. 

So what did I do when I came home?  I picked up an ARC of Shimmer by Alyson Noel.  It was a good quick read.  I'm not going to say it was "fun", because it dealt with souls trapped on earth by their own anger and pain.  There's not much fun about that.  I liked the character of the ghost, Riley Bloom.  I liked her feistiness and her stubborn streak.  I also appreciated that she was willing to learn once she calmed down to listen.  There's an historical link in this story of slaves and slave owners and their ghosts on the island of St. John Virgin Island.  Noel keeps the story moving and leaves a great opening for the next installment in this series. 

So, now, I feel like I am truly retired but my brain is spinning with ideas of what I want to do next.  Podcasts?  Write and publish my own books?  Story programs for the Summer Reading Program theme?  There is just NOT enough time to fit everything in.  The world is full of possibilities!

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10. Phyllis Grann To Retire from Doubleday

Editor Phyllis Grann will retire from her position at Doubleday. In a letter written by editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta, he praised Grann “as a brilliant editor and savvy businesswoman.”

Grann has worked in publishing for four decades. Prior to Doubleday, she held editorial positions at William Morrow, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group (USA). She has worked with several celebrated authors including Tom Clancy, Judy Blume, and Patricia Cornwell.

Grann explained: “Doubleday has allowed me to continue doing what I love. And as much as I have enjoyed the work, I now feel it is time to step back.” Following her last day on June 9th, she will be available as a consultant and freelance editor.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. Sulkin to retire as Williams becomes Bodley head

Written By: 
Charlotte Williams
Publication Date: 
Fri, 08/07/2011 - 08:40

Will Sulkin will be retiring from his role as publishing director of The Bodley Head in April 2012, with Stuart Williams, editorial director at Harvill Secker, to step into the position.  

Sulkin's retirement in 2012 will end a 43-year love affair with publishing, which began in 1969 at Penguin Books. Sulkin described his time in publishing as "terrific", and added he was considering continuing to edit in a freelance capacity with Random House, claiming "it would be too much to go cold turkey".

read more

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12. Retirement plans and the sexes

By Rosemary Wright

Greenwich pensioner by Whistler 1859. Source: Library of Congress.

In 2011, the oldest Baby Boom workers reached the age of 65 — an age that more than 60 million Baby Boomers will reach by 2030. The issue of retirement weighs particularly on women, who are likely to outlive men and therefore have a longer period of retirement to finance.

In the study “Paying for Retirement: Sex Differences in Inclusion in Employer-Provided Retirement Plans,” I turned to the Baby Boomers to determine whether this new generation of women were well-prepared with retirement benefits. Is the retirement gap between Baby Boom men and women narrower than for older retirees? Are women still dependent on a husband’s retirement income for security in old age? To look at these differences, I examined a large sample obtained from the 2009 Current Population Survey for the differences between Baby Boom men and women’s inclusion in retirement plans, as well as predictors of inclusion in these plans.

The results of the new study showed a significantly higher percentage of women than men (68.4% vs. 65.2%) worked for an employer who offered retirement benefits. A slightly higher percentage of men than women (92.4% vs. 91.1%) were included in their employers’ retirement programs. Overall, significant positive predictors of working for an employer with a retirement plan were sex (women more likely than men), employment in a core industry or in a primary occupational sector, educational attainment, and government worker status (government workers more likely than non-government workers). On the other hand, significant negative predictors were minority status (minorities less likely than non-minorities), age (older workers less likely than younger workers), having children younger than age 18 (those with children under the age of 18 less likely than those with no children under 18), and immigrant status (immigrants less likely than non-immigrants).

Minority status and educational level were the only two predictors for which there was a significant sex difference. Minority women were less likely than minority men to work for an employer with retirement benefits. As educational attainment increased, men were more likely than women to work for an employer providing retirement benefits.

Significant positive predictors of a worker actually being included in an employer’s retirement program were age (older workers more likely to be included than younger workers), employment in a core industry or in a primary occupational sector, educational attainment, marriage (married workers more likely than non-married workers), and government worker status. Minority status was the only significant negative predictor of inclusion (minority workers less likely than non-minority workers to be included).

There was only one variable with a significant difference between men and women: government employment. Female public employees were more likely than male public employees to be included in their employers’ retirement programs.

Two major good-news stories emerge from this study. First, a much larger group of workers is included in an employer’s retirement plan in this study than received pension benefits in earlier studies. This reflects the expansion of the types and availability of retirement benefits available to workers today, and is a good sign for retirement security as Baby Boom workers begin to retire. Second, there was only one predictor for which the likelihood of being included in a retirement

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13. A letter from Harry Truman to Judge Learned Hand

Learned Hand was born on this day in 1872. In a letter dated 15 May 1951, Judge Learned Hand wrote President Harry S. Truman to declare his intention to retire from “regular active service.” President Truman responded to Hand’s news with a letter praising his service to the country. These letters are excerpted from Reason and Imagination: The Selected Letters of Learned Hand, edited by Constance Jordan.

To Judge Learned Hand

May 23, 1951
The White House, Washington, D.C.

Dear Judge Hand:

Your impending retirement fills me with regret, which I know is shared by the American people. It is hard to accept the fact that after forty-two years of most distinguished service to our Nation, your activities are now to be narrowed. It is always difficult for me to express a sentiment of deep regret; what makes my present task so overwhelming is the compulsion I feel to attempt, on behalf of the American people, to give in words some inkling of the place you have held and will always hold in the life and spirit of our country.

Your profession has long since recognized the magnitude of your contribution to the law. There has never been any question about your preeminent place among American jurists – indeed among the nations of the world. In your writings, in your day-to-day work for almost half a century, you have added purpose and hope to man’s quest for justice through the process of law. As judge and philosopher, you have expressed the spirit of America and the highest in civilization which man has achieved. America and the American people are the richer because of the vigor and fullness of your contribution to our way of life.

We are compensated in part by the fact that you are casting off only a part of the burdens which you have borne for us these many years, and by our knowledge that you will continue actively to influence our life and society for years to come. May you enjoy many happy years of retirement, secure in the knowledge that no man, whatever his walk of life, has ever been more deserving of the admiration and the gratitude of his country, and indeed of the entire free world.

Very sincerely yours, Harry S. Truman

Hand immediately responded to the President’s letter:

To President Harry S. Truman
May 24, 1951

Dear Mr. President:

Your letter about my retirement quite overwhelms me. I dare not believe that it is justified by anything which I have done, yet I cannot but be greatly moved that you should think that it is. The best reward that anyone can expect from official work is the approval of those competent to judge who become acquainted with it; your words of warm approval are much more than I could conceivably have hoped to receive. I can only tell you of my deep gratitude, and assure you that your letter will be a possession for all time for me and for those who come after me.

Respectfully yours, LEARNED HAND

The letters above were excerpted from Reason and Imagination: The Selected Letters of Learned Hand, edited by Constance Jordan, a retired professor of comparative literature and also Hand’s granddaughter. Learned Hand served on the United States District Court and is commonly thought to be the most influential justice never to serve on the Supreme Court. He corresponded with people in different walks of life, some who were among his friends and acquaintances, others who were strangers to him.

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Image credit: (1) Harry S Truman. US National Archives. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (2) Judge Learned Hand circa 1910. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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14. review – Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band abd Blues Ensemble by Jan Huling

Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble by Jan Huling Henri Sorensen, illustrator Peachtree Publishers 5 Stars . Inside Jacket: Ol’ Bloo Donkey has always dreamed of retiring from the cotton field to become a honky-tonk singer.  But when he overhears the type of retirement plan Farmer Brown has in mind for him—of the permanent …

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15. storybook self-portrait challenge!

First part!
Getting into the mood and searching for a line :P

This is the famous wizard, in me :D

who he is ?

Wizard - Manuela Pentangelo

storybook self-portrait challenge!

Manuela Pentangelo

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16. State-Administered Retirement Plans for the Private Sector: A Bad Idea

Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America. In this article, he criticizes proposals for the states to administer private sector retirement savings plans. Read his past OUPblog posts here.

Legislators throughout the country are proposing that states start to administer private sector retirement savings plans. While the details of these proposals vary from state to state, they all provide that the states should embark upon the business of managing private sector individual account arrangements.

In Connecticut, for example, the state senate, before recently adjourning, passed S.B. 652 which would have created a state-sponsored “universal 401(k).” This legislation would have mandated the state’s comptroller to establish and administer a state-run “tax-qualified defined contribution retirement program” for the self-employed, the tax-exempt institutions, and the “small employers” of the Nutmeg State.

On the other side of the country, currently pending in the California legislature is AB 2940. If enacted, this legislation would authorize CalPERS, the Golden State’s public pension plan, to accept from California residents payroll deposits for state-administered individual retirement accounts. Similar legislation has been introduced in a variety of other states.

The concern animating all these proposals is well-founded. The defined contribution paradigm has worked well for many American households, in particular, middle- and upper-middle families who save and invest through 401(k) plans and IRAs as well as the employees of large employers which sponsor and typically match such employees’ 401(k) contributions. Despite this success, it is troubling that lower-income workers and smaller employers are severely underrepresented in the individual account system.

This problem, however, has deeper roots than is acknowledged by the advocates of state-administered private sector retirement plans. The current retirement savings system relies heavily on the income tax benefits of contributing to tax-qualified arrangements such as 401(k) accounts and IRAs. Those tax benefits are substantial for middle class and more affluent workers who defer significant federal income taxation through their tax deductible contributions to such accounts.

However, low income workers today do not pay significant federal income taxes. They thus have little, if any, tax motivation to make 401(k) or IRA contributions. A deductible contribution is not a meaningful incentive for someone in a low or zero tax bracket. This would remain the case even if states compete with the private sector suppliers of retirement plans. A low-income worker who derives no tax benefit from a deductible IRA contribution at his neighborhood bank will similarly derive no tax benefit from contributing to an IRA administered by his state’s comptroller.

Moreover, even if they want to make such retirement savings contributions, most low-income workers lack the discretionary income to do so.

The private market for retirement savings products is broad and deep. Today, every reader of a major newspaper or of the internet is bombarded by the advertising of the financial services industry, selling 401(k) plans and IRAs. There is no market failure requiring state-provided retirement savings for the private sector.

There is, furthermore, an unintended irony in the idea that the states should ride to the rescue of the private retirement system. The states can’t keep in order in their own pension systems. The states’ underfunding of their own pension plans is today a serious problem. There is something untoward about states which cannot solve their own pension difficulties purporting to act as the saviors of the private sector retirement system.

There is an important step the states can take if they are serious about encouraging 401(k) and IRA participation among low-income individuals. In particular, the states could, in their own income taxes, match part or all of the federal savers’ tax credit which subsidizes the retirement saving of low-income persons by providing a tax credit if a low-income worker contributes to an IRA or 401(k) account.

However, there is no compelling case for the states to enter the private retirement savings business. Let them put their own pensions on solid financial footings first.


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17. Jacob Hacker and Teresa Ghilarducci:An Email Exchange on RetirementPart Two

Today we are proud to bring you Teresa Ghilarducci (who just published When I’m Sixty-Four) in conversation with Jacob Hacker (author of The Great Risk Shift). These two experts will be debating how to ensure retirement for future generations. This is part two of the which will we be publishing all week, so be sure to come back and check our exchange.

Teresa Ghilarducci taught economics for twenty-five years at the University of Notre Dame and now holds the Irene and Bernard L. Schwartz Chair of Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. She is also the 2006-2008 Wurf Fellow at Harvard Law School. Her most recent book is When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them.

Jacob Hacker is a Professor of Political Science at Yale University and a Fellow at the New American Foundation. His most recent book is The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement And How You Can Fight Back.

Dear Teresa,

I see these multiple perspectives on retirement every day, in my research and my own life. I visit my dear colleague Bob Dahl, who in his mid-90s continues to publish path breaking books on democracy and political equality. How can I talk with someone so intellectually vibrant and not want to be contributing in that way in my own old age?

And then I remember Elinor Sheridan, whom I wrote about in my book. In her seventies, she was trying to find a job because her 401(k), crushed by the stock-market decline of 2000, had already been depleted. Even with Social Security, the pension she receives from 17 years at a hospital provided a meager standard of living. Elinor had worked her whole life — as a mom and wife (divorced) and then, ironically, as a “risk manager” at the hospital — and now she was not because she wanted to but because she had to. So much for the golden years.

It is good to have someone celebrating retirement as a benefit to our society, rather than a burden on us and future generations. The labor movement may be the “folks who brought you the weekend,” but it was FDR and countless fellow campaigners for a guaranteed retirement income who who brought us retirement as we now know it. And the campaign is not over.

Retirement security is under attack. Corporations are jettisoning traditional guaranteed pensions, Congress is pouring money into tax breaks for individual benefit plans that exclude millions and mostly benefit the affluent, virtue in proposals for partial privatization of Social Security that will put the promise of secure retirement= further at risk.

But this exchange would be pretty uninteresting if all I said was “Amen,” and so let me continue in the vein of disagreement for at least a little while. I have two concerns about the Guaranteed Retirement Account (GRA) vision — the first more philosophical, the second more practical. (And I should note, as a fellow policy wonk, that GRA is a nice acronym, especially when compared with John McCain’s chosen shorthand for his health plan of last resort, GAP, or “Guaranteed Access Plan.” Note to the McCain candidacy: A plan that’s billed as filling gaps should probably have another moniker, though perhaps the McCain folks believe in truth in advertising.)

First, the more or less philosophical concern: Are GRAs the best immediate use of federal resources and the scarcely unlimited running room for new federal taxes — excuse me, “mandatory contributions”? I am not one to go in for the clash-of-generations view so common in official Washington and the news media. (After all, we all get old, and young and old alike support Social Security and say they want a secure retirement.) But I am not sure I am ready to man the barricades for a major new commitment to provide enhanced retirement income when so many needs go unmet for working age Americans and kids. For one, and I say this only half in jest, I would rather have the 5 percent of payroll proposed to fund GARs for my universal health plan
= (http://www.sharedprosperity.org/topics-health care.html). For another, Social Security provides a tattered but still crucial safety net that is sorely lacking in other areas of American economic life—most notably, health care (again, I really want that 5 percent!). My point is not that we don’t need a new campaign for retirement security — we do. It’s just that I”m not sure it should be the first priority of those seeking economic security. The aged look out for themselves pretty well in American politics. Not so the young, the disadvantaged, the cash-strapped working family — though, yes, they will all be old some day and, yes, our pension system fails them above all.

Now, the practical worry. We have a huge 401(k) complex on which millions of Americans rely. In my 2002 book, The Divided Welfare State, I described the slapdash way in which this system came into being (trust me; almost no one knew what they were getting into, though once the floodgates were opened, corporations figured it out pretty quick). But I also made the point that existing systems of social protection, however haphazardly created or inadequate in practice, are fiendishly difficult to supplant with new, more rational arrangements. I called this “path dependence.” But we could just as well call it “political reality.” And it seems to me that the political reality today is that it will be very, very hard to completely redirect existing tax breaks for 401(k) plans and create an entirely new supplementary pension system managed by the federal government.

If that judgment is correct (dispute away), then where does it leave those of us living in the reality-based policy community who recognize that the 401(k) defined contribution model is incapable of providing retirement security for all but those at the top? I argued in The Great Risk Shift thSocial Security, and (2) transform 401(k)s into something that looks like a guaranteed retirement benefit. Without going into the details, I called for making 401(k)-type accounts available to everyone, even if their employer failed to provide them; requiring automatic enrollment through the workplace; and offering progressive “matches” to supplement lower-income workers’ contributions, even if employers do not offer a standard match. And I said that all account balances should be automatically converted into annuities (a guaranteed income for the remainder of one’s life) at retirement unless someone could show they had sufficient wealth to protect themselves against outliving their assets. (providing such annuities through the post office back in the 1930s).

By the way, this would surely cost serious money – which puts it somewhat in tension with my first point about priorities. But it has the virtue that it could be done in stages, with the lowest-cost aspects (automatic enrollment; annuitization, which should be self-financing) coming \ first. Its more important virtue is that it might be possible to do at all.

Fire Away,



Thanks for reminding me of Robert Dahl and what was unspoken, our hope we are as incisive in our nineties and in control of our time.

Please know it was both — FDR’s Social Security and union pensions (e.g. those for the Ladies Garment Workers, bricklayers, coal miners, steel, auto workers etc.) that created the middle class and middle class retirement. But, as you point out, the campaign for “decent retirement for all” is not over. Except for the wealthiest men and women, people, now in their 40s and 50s, will likely be the first U.S. history to be more at risk than their parents of experiencing a sharp drop in living standards in old age.

I bristle a bit when accused of not being a reality-based policy wonk. There is not a pension economist on the planet that will defend our system of tax breaks for savings that only help the affluent move money from taxed accounts to tax-favored accounts, costing the Treasury over $80 billion per year. Thus, it is no surprise that the tax breaks - called tax expenditures - have soared while overall savings rates keep on going down. A full 50% of the tax expenditures for 401(k)-type accounts go to only 6% of workers; those at the top earning over $100,000 per year.
70% of the tax breaks go to the top 20%. The most head banging reality of it all is that these people would have saved without the help. The current system has no basis in logic.

Who did this? Who brought old age income security under attack? I used to think it was mostly corporations spending less on pensions because they could get away with it. The shift in market power to employers and away from workers is partly the reason, but a big part of the attack comes from Congress indulging the 401(k) industry. And a dedicated, ideologically-based campaign to transform Social Security into individual accounts (my Chapter 5 covers that intricate history and, as you rightly point out, continuing saga) is the other source of the plot against pensions.

My proposal for guaranteed supplements to Social Security is based in this reality. GRAs obtains pensions for all with no additional risk or federal spending. And, they restore savings rates to the higher rates before the “debt boom” that started in the 1980s.

Philosophically we are on the same page. You didn’t say it right out, but I guess you are just as terrified as I am that high payroll taxes would cause terrible things like widespread tax evasion and an underground economy. I’ve come to appreciate how lucky we are in America that we have almost 100% employer compliance (the stray restaurant and construction sites notwithstanding) in paying social security tax.

Keeping payroll taxes low is philosophical and practical. Nonetheless, I support your plan for an additional payroll tax to pay for health care and for a mandatory 5% contribution to a GRA. First, the government will offset the 5% GRA contribution with an indexed $600 annual contribution.

Second, the “mandatory contribution” is unlike a tax, it will go into an individual’s account under that individual’s name. Third, money for the old doesn’t take away money from the young. One of my best articles has the best title - Do the Old eat the Young? (I also teach a class on social policy with the same name). The ugly fear that supporters of Social Security and pensions compete with government support for working-age Americans and kids is not well founded. You know what? Nations that pay for the old also pay for kids. It is also a pattern in American history. When American families funded their pensions and paid ever increasing Social Security taxes, they voted for increases in property taxes to pay for schools.

Thus, we can plausibly argue for a bread and roses social policy. Your great book, The Great Risk Shift, put working class families’ insecurity front and center. The kids! The kids! Only African American kids have higher poverty rates than older single women. And, you are right, over the last 4 decades, we have drastically cut old age poverty rates while more kids face poverty risks. But did bread leave the mouths of babes to feed the grandmas? No. Tax expenditures - taxes not collected for special reasons, like for oil depletion and for profits of banks operating abroad — between 1974 - 2004 tripled. And the growth in tax breaks, mostly for businesses and the wealthy, far exceeds the growth in social spending. That is where much of the money for cash-strapped working families have gone.

I agree, thought the practical reality of checking the runaway 401(k) industrial complex might be difficult, it is not impossible don’t annihilate Wall Street firms, the government will contract with for-profit professional money managers just as we do for for investing pensions for Federal Reserve employees, Texas teachers, etc. Even Chuck (in the “Talk to Chuck” campaign for Charles Schwab brokerage accounts) and other broker dealers will have something to do. Employers can still keep their 401(k) plans, but their merits have to be r al, not based on the tax breaks going to the bosses. So, though it is difficult to implement policy as if we are “starting from scratch” because of “path dependence” this 401(k) path is fairly new - the tax breaks have soared only recently. And, if we can keep tax breaks for 401(k) contributions up to $5,000 per year - not up to, in some cases, $46,000 — we only spend $25 billion per year for GRAs for all, funded with $600 federal contributions for everyone.

So, don’t throw me out of the reality-based policy community. Guaranteed Retirement Accounts, with all due respect, is a more effective, straightforward plan than your plan that relies on clever psychological jujitsu with automatic this and thats. You aim to raise pension coverage rates by taking advantage of human laziness through auto enrolling, auto annuitizing and - you should add — auto investing. Fundamentally, relying on voluntary, commercial accounts does not address huge leakages from high retail fees, leakages from churning and scams, and leakages from early withdrawals and, the biggest leak of all, the fact most employers do not bother to sponsor a pension plan at all.

The best part about the GRAs is that it addresses the two Americas. The GRAs gives every American worker with a Social Security number what only some lucky workers have. Workers with government, corporate and union defined benefit plans, and college professors in TIAA -CREF have low cost, not-for-profit financial institutions handling our pensions. The other Americans have nothing, or pay retail fees for leaky 401(k) accounts. The GRAs close that access gap - everyone has access to a low fee, professional, quasi-governmental, financial institution that guarantees an inflation-protected competitive market return.

Jacob, we can get health and pension security. No?



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18. Trials

I love this photo my husband took of a sea cave along the beach in Quintero. It reminds me of an archetypal portal, a door leading from one reality to another. The sea can easily become a symbol of the life beyond, by which I don't mean beyond the grave . . . but beyond the day-to-day life, the special world we all go to when we are forced to grow in spirit, imagination, or even in the depths of love in the midst of crankiness or fear or stress.

Bill and I assume we'll go back home next summer (winter here . . . it gets so confusing sometimes to know how to reference the seasons.) I can have a job back in the Middletown Unified School District, not as a reading specialist, but more than likely a classroom elementary teacher. If we stay longer in Chile, I'm cutting the cord for good to employment in the U.S. The companies who run the Chilian pension system take an extraordinary amount of management fees, something we had no idea of when we first got here. Bottom line: retirement. We do fine with the day to day, but what about twenty years down the line?

There have been times I've wanted to run back home. Spanish is not coming fast or easy, though at the final talk by Miss Avril, St. Margaret's director, I understood practically every thing she said. But context is everything. I find that there are times things come out of my mouth I didn't know I knew, but then ten minutes later I can't ask for directions to the bathroom.

Dealing with anything that has to do with paperwork here feels crazy, though I suppose someone dealing with visas and bank accounts in the United States might feel the same. My visa here processed fairly quickly, but I'm sure it was because I had St. Margaret's behind me. One woman who works there told me her mother had to go 57 times to the Departmento de Extranjeros. Without the help of a friend, I'd given up getting my I.D. card processed. I was told to go to a wrong office of the International Police. When I got to the right one, my papers were filled out incorrectly. There was a long wait at the civil office to find out I had to go back to the police, more taxi rides, finding everyone at lunch at the police station (Vero banged on windows until someone came out to help us), and then back to the civil office just in time before the doors locked (at 2:00). My husband is having difficulty getting his visa processed because he took my last name. Right now, a copy of our marriage license is somewhere in limbo in northern California ready for it to be "legalized" by the Chilian Embasy in San Francisco.

Without Saint Margaret's help, I wouldn't have a bank account either. I'm not a permanent resident, so no bank would give me an account. I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY MONEY, I would say. They're weren't impressed. I was carrying nine thousand Chilian pesos home with me in my purse for two or three months, the equivalent of 2,000 dollars.

Getting Internet hook up at our new house was a similar spike in stress. The technician came out, couldn't find our place, wrote the wrong address down. We went back to the mall where we signed up but they wouldn't believe the address was different because . . . well, there it was on the official paperwork. We got through this with our duena's (landlady's) aid, but the address on our bill is still the neighbor's house, though somehow it gets put in the right mailbox.

Dogs on the street are everywhere. Many times I've had delightful encounters with them, but they're not always friendly. On Magdelena Paz, our passaje, there are three dogs that have adopted the street. We all feed them, and they're healthy and happy. Miel (Hon

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19. The Top Ten Money Mistakes People Make

Megan Branch, Publicity Intern

David Bach is the best-selling author of the eight books in the Finish Rich series as well as Fight for Your Money and The Automatic Millionaire. In the latest book in the Finish Rich series, The Finish Rich Dictionary, Bach defines 1001 essential financial terms and provides 10 helpful essays with topics ranging from understanding a credit score to planning for retirement. Below we have excerpted five of Bach’s ten most interesting money mistakes people make. 

Mistake #1: Having a 30-year mortgage.

A typical 30-year mortgage at 8 percent inflates the real cost of a $250,000 home to more that $666,000. If you paid off your mortgage in 15 years, the total cost of your house would come to just under $493,000. That’s nearly $168,000 less than it would have been with a 30-year mortgage.

Make a small extra payment each month or fork over a larger lump sum at the end of the year. By making an extra 10-percent payment each month and then adding an extra month’s payment at the end of the year, for example, you can pay off your 30-year mortgage in about 18 years.

Mistake #2: Waiting to buy a house.

When you own your own home, you are building equity for yourself. When you rent, you are building someone else’s equity.

The number-one reason people put off buying a home is because they think they can’t afford it. But you don’t need tens of thousands of dollars in the bank for a down payment. All lenders will provide 75 percent of the purchase price of your house or condominium, and many banks will lend as much as 95 percent.

You can probably get a substantial home for the equivalent of your current rental payment. Say you pay $2,000 a month in rent. For that kind of money, you could get a $250,000 mortgage. In most of the country, $250,000 can buy you a lot of house.

Mistake #3: Putting Off Saving for Retirement

Almost 95 percent of Americans age 65 or older have an income of less than $25,000 a year. That means only 5 percent of us are in a position of financial security, much less comfort, when we reach our so-called golden years.

The best way to get started saving for retirement is to arrange to have your monthly contribution either deducted directly from your paycheck or automatically transferred from your checking account each month. If you’re not yet using your retirement account at work, go in to the office and sign up for your plan today. Make it a goal to save 10 percent or more of your gross income. If you can’t imagine saving 10 percent, start with 3 percent and make it a goal to increase that amount by a small percentage every month (you’ll barely feel it). By the end of the year, you’ll be contributing the maximum allowable amount to your retirement account at work.

Mistake #4: Paying too much in taxes.

When you are building an investment portfolio, it is absolutely imperative that you take into consideration your potential tax liability. Financial advisers call this “looking for the real rate of return.” The more you seek to minimize your taxes when investing, the more money you’ll keep. Start by making it a goal to fully invest in your 401(k) plan or retirement plan at work. No plan at work? Make sure you use an IRA account. Once you’ve maxed out your retirement accounts, look to investments that grow tax-free (like tax-free bonds).

Mistake #5: Giving Up.

People often make a financial mistake, get bad advice, and then give up on their dream of financial security. Don’t let this happen to you.

Yes, you should be careful, but don’t become overcautious. By learning to avoid the common pitfalls investors make, you can minimize your risk and put yourself on the road to financial security. The biggest mistake you can make is to not become an investor.

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20. How to Plan for Retirement

Marc Palatucci, Intern

David Bach is the best-selling author of the Finish Rich book series. In his latest work, The Finish Rich Dictionary, Bach provides definitions for over a thousand financial words and terms. Interspersed throughout the definitions are ten essays designed to help the reader navigate today’s financial environment, and avoid it’s many pitfalls and perils. In this excerpt, Bach gives seven rules to follow in planning for ones retirement.  To read other excerpts from this book click here.

Here are seven rules for planning for retirement:

1. Invest for growth. Even with the recent downturn in the stock market, it’s still critical that, when you invest in your retirement accounts, you invest for growth. Many people are now making the crucial mistake of thinking that the stock market will never go up again and, as a result, they are putting all of their money in guaranteed investments (like certificates of deposit). The problem with investing in something that is guaranteed is that the return may be less than inflation, which means you are actually losing money each year. The cost of living has been climbing steadily, at an average of slightly more than 3 percent a year. Playing it safe will not allow you to beat that rate. If your retirement account doesn’t grow faster than inflation, you’re not going to have enough money to live on when you retire, 20, 30, or 40 years from now.
While seeking growth requires you to invest some of your money in stocks (and that means more risk), over the long term, you should come out ahead and be able to build a bigger nest egg.

2. Take advantage of free money. One of the smartest things you can do when it comes to saving for the future is taking advantage of the free money your employer may give you. In many cases, employers will supplement your retirement plan contributions with contributions of their own. These matching contributions usually start at 20 percent of what you’ve put in and sometimes go as high as 100 percent. At the same time, you should still make the maximum allowable contribution, not just the percentage of your paycheck that your company will match. If your employer stops matching your contributions (as many companies have recently started doing), don’t make the critical mistake of stopping your contributions to your retirement account. With or without a match, you want to use your retirement account at work.

3. Don’t borrow from your retirement plan. Although your retirement plan may allow you to borrow money from your account without paying taxes or penalties, don’t do it. Why? For starters, imagine being laid off from work. At the worst possible time, your company tells you, “You have to pay back your 401 (k) loan.” Without a paycheck, you can’t pay back your loan, right? Your company then reports your loan as a distribution, and now you owe the IRS taxes on the loan, plus a 10 percent penalty fee. But wait, you’re not working. How will you pay the IRS? See the problem here? This is happening to thousands of Americans right now. Don’t let it happen to you. Leave your retirement money alone until you’re ready to retire.

4. Consolidate your accounts. Many people remember Grandma’s advice about not putting all your eggs in one basket, but they often misunderstand it. Not putting your eggs in one basket means diversifying your risk - putting your money into different kinds of assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles. It doesn’t mean opening an IRA at a different bank or brokerage firm every year.

There is simply no way you can do a good job managing your retirement accounts if they are spread all over the place. If that’s what you’ve done, consider consolidating them into one IRA custodial account. Not only can you completely diversify your investments withing a single IRA, but you’ll also find it much easier to keep track of everything.

5. Be careful who you list as the beneficiary of your retirement account. Many people follow their lawyer’s advice to create a living trust to protect their estate, put all their assets in their trust’s name. This is a big mistake. When you do this, your rollover, which allows, for example, a widow to take over her late husband’s IRA and put it in her name, without having to pay any taxes on it until she actually starts taking the money out. If the husband has transferred ownership of his IRA to a trust, the wife can’t take it over in the event of his death. Instead, the account goes to the trust, and the proceeds become taxable. For much the same reason, you shouldn’t make a trust the beneficiary of any of your IRAs or 401(k) plans. You should also make sure that, if you or your partner has been married before, your ex isn’t still listed as the beneficiary on any of your retirement accounts. Finally, if you’re newly married, make sure that your spouse has put you down as the beneficiary of his or her accounts. Many people when they marry have “Mom” down as a beneficiary. No offense to “Mom” or “Sis,” but you want your name on that beneficiary statement. Also, make sure you list your kids as contingent beneficiaries.

6. Always take your retirement money with you. When you leave a company where you’ve been contributing to a 401(k) plan, don’t leave your retirement money behind. Rather, immediately inform the benefits department that you want to do an IRA rollover. Your former employer will then transfer your retirement funds either to a new custodial IRA that you’ve set up for yourself at a bank or brokerage firm, or to the 401(k) plan at your new employer (assuming there is one and it accepts money from other plans). If you leave money in an old 401(k) plan, your beneficiary, upon your death, would have to go back to a company where you may not have worked in years to get your money. The process can take as long as a year, and the money could be subject to taxes before your beneficiary can collect it.

7. Don’t shortchange yourself. Whatever else you do in your financial life, take retirement planning seriously. There is nothing you can do that will have more impact on your future financial security than maximizing your contributions to a retirement account and making sure that money works really hard for you.

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21. Embrace Work: It May Have to Last Forever

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In truth, most retirees base their identity on their career and yearn for the activity and responsibility their work life provided.

For eighty-one-year-old Vincent, a lifelong New York resident, retirement after sixty years of work has not been a dream come true. “Some people seem so happy to be retired, but I feel lost. A sense of fulfillment is missing.”

But by serving on the local community board, which makes decisions on zoning and land use, he has found a way to keep himself engaged. “The community board keeps me moving,” Vincent says.

The board, which is unpaid, often has to deal with contentious issues pitting neighbor against neighbor. Vincent tries to help everyone stay calm, and he keeps his own comments to a minimum. “If I say something, it has to be worth saying.” But when the time comes to take a vote, he calls on a lifetime of experience. “I’ve run more organizations than I now have hairs on my head. I think, ‘What did I do then?’ That helps.”

The single biggest factor in shaping a retired person’s identity is career history, outweighing even family life.

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22. Embrace Work: It May Have to Last Forever

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In truth, most retirees base their identity on their career and yearn for the activity and responsibility their work life provided.

For eighty-one-year-old Vincent, a lifelong New York resident, retirement after sixty years of work has not been a dream come true. “Some people seem so happy to be retired, but I feel lost. A sense of fulfillment is missing.”

But by serving on the local community board, which makes decisions on zoning and land use, he has found a way to keep himself engaged. “The community board keeps me moving,” Vincent says.

The board, which is unpaid, often has to deal with contentious issues pitting neighbor against neighbor. Vincent tries to help everyone stay calm, and he keeps his own comments to a minimum. “If I say something, it has to be worth saying.” But when the time comes to take a vote, he calls on a lifetime of experience. “I’ve run more organizations than I now have hairs on my head. I think, ‘What did I do then?’ That helps.”

The single biggest factor in shaping a retired person’s identity is career history, outweighing even family life.

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23. Nancy Kolb Retires

Please Touch Museum's President and Chief Executive Officer, Nancy Kolb, retired on Friday, November 20 after 21 years as the museum's leader. Nancy had a lot to say about what her retirement means for her, the museum and its visitors. Read on for more!

Pinky: Hi Nancy! We're going to miss you at Please Touch! How did you decide you were ready to retire?
Nancy: This has been a long journey to get us here [Memorial Hall], it took 11 years! I'm leaving on a pretty high note and am turning it over to someone that's been here just as long and whose skill set better matches what the museum needs now.
But, I’m still going to be around. They aren't getting rid of me, that's for sure! Please Touch Museum will always have my heart. How could you not love a job where you ride a carousel and have a serious conversation with a three year old?

Pinky: What has your time at Please Touch Museum taught you?
Nancy: The museum has taught me the importance of a creative environment where everyone can be successful. I have one of the most remarkable staffs and it took the board, the staff [particularly the visiting staff], proper funding, our members and a good investment bank to get where we are today. We all have had a shared vision and that’s the key element in all of this.

Pinky: What will you miss the most about your time at Please Touch?
Nancy: I'm going to miss the kids and the carousel. I try to go on at least once a day! My time with the children is precious to me. I have a wonderful time conversing with them and their want to have fun is joyous! Whether I'm here or whether I’m not, they will be here. And I'll be back to talk to them from time to time.

Pinky: The carousel's my favorite too! What are your plans after you retire?
Nancy: I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I leave here. I'll spend more time with my grandchildren, work on my golf game, learn Spanish and do the inevitable traveling. Fun is a core value in the museum and part of my life.

Pinky: Thanks for talking with me today Nancy! You will be greatly missed and I hope you visit soon and ride the carousel with me and my puppet pals!

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24. Will the Real Joe Sottile Please Stand Up?

I love this photo, and if had started reading at his age, maybe my whole life would have been different. As it was, my life is more complicated than I ever thought it would be. That is, because I wear many hats in my so-called "retirement." 

We all wear different hats in life, especially as weget older. My hats include those of a husband, father, grandparent, uncle,friend, teacher, essayist, instructor, tutor, performer, golfer, biker,children’s poet, and an adult poet.

Over the pastthree decades I have written many children’s poems.  During that time, I sometimes have playedthis recording in my head, “Someday I am going to get more serious aboutwriting adult poetry and join an official writing group.”  Now I feel old enough, and I have taken theplunge. I am more than willing to share my poetry for adults and chase aroundfor publishers.

I feel passionately about poetry, whether it’swritten for children or adults. Exactly how passionately? Well, I have strongbeliefs about the value of poetry. I am working on a poetry handbook forhomeschoolers, and what follows is an excerpt from the introduction:

“Poetrycan help you understand the world better and yourself better. Poetry canprovide an avenue for you to untangle mixed-up feelings. Poetry can make youlaugh and encourage you to take problems in stride. Poetry can give you wordsof courage to remember in times of stress.

Poetrycan be a friend that goes wherever you go. Poems can be tucked into your bookbag or your brain matter, and taken with you on any journey, short or long. Inother words, poetry can play an important part in your life as a road map tocourage, compassion, laughter, fun, success, and self-knowledge. This willbecome clearer as you read on.
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25. Best Internet: Should Men Retire?

 After I retired, my wife insisted that Iaccompany her on her 
 trips to Target. 

 Unfortunately, like  most men, I foundshopping boring and 
 preferred to get in and get  out. Equallyunfortunate, my wife is like 
 most women - she loves  to browse. 

Yesterday my dear wife received the followingletter from the 
 local Target: 

Dear Mrs.Clifton 

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