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Are you ready to retire?

December 13, 2016

You've put in a lot of years on the job at IUPUI, and you're looking ahead. So, do you think you're ready for retirement?

I thought I was this fall, when I first contemplated stepping away from the job that has filled my life for the past 25-plus years. The reality? When you think about the future, you want to be certain. And that's where University Human Resources and IUPUI Human Resources stand ready to help.

For me, thoughts of the future were pretty straightforward:

  • How will I handle the financial changes?
  • What about health care?
  • How will I fill my time?
  • What about the relationships and working partnerships that have been so rewarding?

Those were my concerns, but I suspect that each person will have their own unique set of questions. For whatever it's worth, here are my tips:

  • Solo doesn't work well. I quickly learned that going it alone is not a good idea. I got help from my youngest sister, the family financial whiz, and it's made all the difference. Plus, extra eyes and ears help you avoid misunderstandings that can muddle your plans.
  • Take advantage of HR. Human Resources has a lot of experts, both at IUPUI and in Bloomington, and they are terrific teammates. They know a lot of problem areas that have tripped up others in the past, from health care, retiring employees' rights and obligations, and insurance to other benefits -- the list goes on and on.
  • Choose your date wisely. For most employees, the process really kicks in when you pick your "last day." In my case, I was laboring under some false assumptions connected to post-retirement health benefits, and it nearly cost me a chunk of money. But the guidance of the HR professionals and knowledgeable IU Communications folks helped me overcome the hiccups.
  • PTO and sick time. Indiana University provides a nice allotment of PTO and sick time, but it's up to each employee to make sure they get their due. Retiring at the end of a calendar year meant I ran afoul of concerns over accumulated PTO hours that I couldn't use before leaving and couldn't roll over. Hence my word of caution about your departure date.
  • Be flexible. It is likely that your path to "retirement road" won't be straight and uncomplicated. There are numerous issues that can crop up, but common sense, HR expertise and some calm reflection on your part can help make your journey manageable and -- who knows? -- maybe even enjoyable as you head toward the next chapter in life.
  • Begin planning early. Title this point "pot, meet kettle." I didn't take many, if any, of the common-sense steps that are offered to Indiana University employees, such as open enrollment options like tax-saver benefits or health savings accounts. But the ones I now realize might have been great first steps? The symposiums, information meetings, and personal or family meetings that Human Resources offers many times throughout the year, and the financial-planning sessions available from retirement-planning experts from TIAA and Fidelity. Over time, they constitute a great advantage for your bottom line and your future. So start early!

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