Influences on Retirement Age

by Maureen H. Hook, Ph.D.

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Have you thought about what age you would like to retire? Well, unfortunately, the decision may not be completely within your control. There are many reasons you will end up retiring at a particular age. A few of these will be discussed below.

First, the foremost reason you may retire before, let’s say, 62 as the average retirement age, is poor health. If you have had a largely physical job, the toll of working outdoors, while enjoyable, has put more stress on joints and your extremities than an indoor job might have. Also, if you have had a serious illness, although you may now have recovered, a weakened heart or immune system may just not be up to the stress of a job. In addition, while you yourself may enjoy good health, a family history of early death, may induce you to take an early retirement date. Take for example the case of Mike Miller, a personal injury lawyer in Marshall, Texas. He decided to retire at age 55. His father retired at age 61 from school administration, and died 8 months later. While his father had a history of smoking and prostate cancer, Mr. Miller, though disease-free, did not want to chance it. His two daughters were finishing their educations, and so he decided he could afford it, as long as he was reasonable with his spending. One could say Mr. Miller was making a personal decision about what was best for him.

On the other hand, some consider the longevity statistics compiled by the Social Security Administration. A male who makes it to 65, can expect to live, on average, to 84.5 years old. Women who are alive at age 65 can expect to live until at least 86.8 years old. But, of course, these are just statistics. They will hold true for most people, but maybe not for you as an individual. So, in the end, it is the individual’s choice about what is best for them.

Second, older workers may go ahead and retire earlier than they had expected because of technological changes in the workplace. People in their 60s and 70s today were born in the 1940s and 1950s. While immensely beneficial, the internet and computers have changed the workplace forever. Sally Shelburne, 73, of Washington, DC decided to retire from her job as a lecturer at the National Gallery of Art. Although she has a doctorate in modern art, she just didn’t feel adequate to adapt to changing job requirements. She voluntarily decided it was the right time to retire.

Third, age-related factors may affect you. When Lesley Evans-Lane, 60, a board certified academic coach, was forced to move from Albuquerque to Portland because of her husband’s job, she found that transitioning to new employment in her desired field was not easy. A young worker can be hired more cheaply and has the allure of being closer in age to the people with whom she would be working. Eventually, she accepted part-time work at an animal shelter. She may make the decision to retire before her target goal of age 65.

In conclusion,, there is no one right recommendation for everyone. Just be aware of the factors which may come into play as you age. It’s never too early to start thinking about it. Hook Law Center has professionals who may be able to structure your finances to allay your concerns about the retirement process.

Kit Kat

Ask Kit Kat: Heroines to Felines

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, can you tell us about the woman in Boston who has been so generous to cats?

Kit Kat: Yes, certainly! Her name is Kit Lilly, and she is a state council member from Massachusetts of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS). Kit worked 23 years in banking. When she retired she decided to devote herself full-time to animal welfare. She says some people like to spend their money on spas, etc. She’d rather spend it on animals. She has an affinity for cats, but she helps dogs, too.

It all started with an adult, brown tabby cat named Otis, whom she adopted in 1990 from someone running an informal shelter from her home. Otis was extremely affectionate, and would put his paws around her neck like he was hugging her. More feline adoptees would follow. That led to volunteering at a shelter. Her shelter experience led to an awareness of the high number of feral cats. Ms. Lilly then became active in a trap-neuter-and release program. Not content to stop there, she established Charles River Alleycats in 2002. It is now the largest trap-neuter-release group in the Boston area, treating about 1,100 cats a year.

Her involvement with dogs happened after a trip to Mexico in 1999. On Isla Mujeres, she observed a significant number of dogs and cats roaming around. She then learned that the dogs mostly had owners, but not so the cats. Next, she became aware that the island only had one veterinarian–Delfino Guevara. Half of the work he does is done at no charge. So once again Ms. Lilly stepped in. She founded Helping Animals Living Overseas (HALO) to support his work and build a new facility. In the process, her group paid for the eye surgery of a dog whose owners could not afford to correct his bulging eye.

It’s always nice to learn about the good Samaritans of the animal world! (Ruthanne Johnson, “Kit Lilly,” All Animals, January/February 2015, p.12.)

Upcoming Events

  • February 7, 2015 – Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will be speaking to the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads’ Baby Play Group.
  • February 10, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook will be teaching a continuing legal education seminar to personal injury attorneys on “Protecting Your Client’s Settlement Using Trusts.”
  • February 20-21, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Managing a Small Law Firm at the 2015 VAELA UnProgram in Charlottesville, VA.
  • February 23, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook and Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will be speaking on the ABLE Act to a local financial advisory firm.
  • August 12, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking to a group at Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • August 21, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking to a group at DePaul Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • August 27, 2015 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking to a group at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, Virginia.

Special Announcements 

The Hook Law Center, a leader in the field of Elder Law, serving Hampton Roads, is seeking an experienced Elder Law attorney. The firm has an AV Martindale rating, offices in both Virginia Beach and Suffolk, and attorneys who have held leadership positions in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Special Needs Alliance, and the Virginia Bar Association. The ideal candidate will have expertise in public benefits,guardianshipspecial needs planningestate planning, taxation, and trust & estate administration. The candidate must also have excellent writing, research, and communication skills.  Our goal is to attract an attorney who will work collaboratively with our experienced staff, provide  consistent, high-quality client service, strive to improve his or her skills and seek relevant certifications, and is motivated to continue the success of our firm. Membership in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or certification in Elder Law or Financial Planning is desirable. Please send resume and references to Sandra Buhr, Office Administrator, at sbuhr@hooklawcenter.com.

Hook Law Center is also seeking an experienced Paralegal.  The Paralegal must have 3+ years experience assisting Attorneys in the area of estate planning.  Experience in long term care planning is a plus. Knowledge of the legal process and terminology used in this practice area is required. This Paralegal must be able to read, comprehend, and act with knowledge on instructions, regulations, and laws related to this area. Candidate must be efficient at managing client matters while maintaining accurate timekeeping; therefore, prior experience working with in legal time and billing systems is necessary. Candidate must be a detail oriented, independent worker with excellent critical thinking skills and computer skills. Proficiency in the use of WordPerfect, Word, and Excel is required. This self-starter must have excellent clerical skills, including spelling, grammar, proper punctuation, and proofreading. As client contact is frequent, the position also requires a person with exceptional client service skills. Hook Law Center offers an excellent work environment as well an excellent compensation and benefit program.  Please email your resume to buhr@hooklawcenter.com

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