Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reflections on My First Retirement Paycheck

Today as I opened the mail, I discovered my first retirement paycheck and gulped. A few weeks ago when I reluctantly decided to retire, I pulled out the calculator and started figuring out whether or not I could survive financially during retirement. I ascertained that I would be fine, but I was still slightly uncomfortable today as I opened my first retirement paycheck and worried momentarily that I may have made a math mistake weeks ago that might force me to share my cat's food in the future.

As I opened the envelope and peered at my first paycheck, I discovered three important items.

First: The paycheck print is HUGE! Georgia's Teacher Retirement System obviously knows it is dealing with the squinting bifocal/trifocal crowd. Forget the magnifying glass that I had to pull out to read the fine print of all of the deductions in my working paycheck. This print is so large that I could post it across the room and use it as an eye chart. In fact, since I have little else to do these days, I might start practicing for my next eye exam.

Second: I won't have to fight my cat for the tender morsels in his food bowl. I may have complained for years and years about all of the money that TRS (Teacher's Retirement System) pulled from my monthly paycheck, but today I celebrated since my paycheck is 79% of the take-home pay that I received just one month ago. Imagine that! Each month I'll receive 79% of my pay without ever grading an essay, assigning homework, holding detention, returning a parent phone call, battling students afflicted with senioritis, attending a staff development session, recording grades, or supervising students in the cafeteria. Add to this paycheck the 1.5% pay raise I will receive almost every six months for the rest of my life, and I'm starting to think that I might learn to like retirement.

Lest I become too excited about this retirement check, I discovered one final thing when I opened the envelope and looked at my first retirement check today.

Third: I found a thorny warning typed in the same large print at the bottom of the check:
If payee is deceased return check to TRS.

Well, I don't plan to kick the bucket before I deposit my first retirement check. In fact, tomorrow, I may just write to TRS and point out the necessity for a comma in their warning. It's not like I have anything else to do in the next thirty years.

If I don't find some new students in the next few months, I may go insane!


  1. Whenever we start talking about the school system and how much work my sister has to do, my dad always eventually reminds her to "just think of the awesome retirement plan"

  2. Hahaha your humor transmits the same across an ocean as it does across the classroom!

    If you do decide to use it as an eye chart, please take a picture of that.

    I'm glad you are able to live comfortably in retirement. I can think of no one better deserving of a healthy retirement pension than teachers.

    And I'm jealous about the golf trip. We shall have to do something like that when I get back. I hear there's zip lining in north Georgia; I can re-live Costa Rica... ;-)

  3. Congratulations to you on your career of hard work in public education! Enjoy your retirement and keep the blog posts flowing!

  4. Isn't it great! And I don't feel a bit guilty about it's arrival each month--we've earned it! Now I'm preparing for the arrival of my other check--Social Security! :) Life is good! Enjoy your new found freedom! TR

  5. Congrats on retirement and thanks for all those year educating our kids! Seems we are neighbors (?) I clicked on 'Ellijay' in my profile and here you are. Have a great day!

  6. 79%?

    What the heck?

    I ain't getting that, and I worked longer than you?

    *scratches head*