Anthony Zumpetta, DEd, adjunct faculty in the School of Public Service, recently attended the 65th Symposium of the Pennsylvania Sociological Society (PSS) with assistance from an adjunct faculty professional development grant. Here are excerpts from his report:
Anthony Zumpetta, DEd
The presentation I made was entitled “Psychological and Sociological Issues Pending Retirement: Preparing for the Unknown.” The presentation was based more on my own retirement from academia after over 20 years of teaching in the BMU and 18 years in law enforcement and corrections, although it also included authoritarian references from research by Abraham Maslow, the MacArthur Foundation on Aging, and other authorities on the subject of aging and retirement.
Retirement requires a multi-year plan that takes into consideration many variables. Just a few include one’s financial needs and capabilities, health, family size and obligations, alternative second careers or interests, benefits from former employers, savings, the retirement package of a spouse, and role that social security will play. Cleaning out one’s office at retirement time can also be a challenge of its own. For faculty who saved every complementary book they ever received as well as copies of manuscripts, papers, grade books, and other “stuff” the process of cleaning out an office occupied for as long as 30 or more years may take weeks and possibly months. If someone plans on a June retirement they need to begin the cleaning process two years earlier. Ideally an office needs reorganized every two to three years. Sell books to the book buyers that still have any value. Be altruistic and keep an account of monies garnered from this process that can be used to make a donation to the academic institution when finally retiring.
Because many retirement plans offer options to the retiree, the employee considering which plan is best owes it to themselves to get a comprehensive physical before making that decision. In some options once the retiree passes away there is no consideration for spouse and family. In others the spouse can continue with the retiree’s pension, at least partially, even if they pass away. Because dental coverage is a benefit many people lose in retirement, visit the dentist at least a year before retiring to have every filling or bridge that appears to be needing attention repaired or replaced and all other dental work completed.
One other major change in retirement can be the transition to Medicare for those who retire prior to age 65. This may cause a disruption or major change in drug coverage as well as doctor and medical coverage and add additional insurance premiums to cover Plan B under Medicare coverage.
Although many of us dream about retirement after passing the mid-life crisis, it can also be a crisis of its own if not approached in a calculated and scientific manner.
Membership in the PSS is open to anyone desiring to join. There are no restrictions on one’s discipline of interest and the member need not be a resident of Pennsylvania or employed in Pennsylvania. Any faculty member, administrator, or employee of Excelsior College is invited to inquire about membership by contacting the PSS treasurer, Barbara Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: Zumpetta was the recipient of an Excelsior College Distinguished Faculty Award in 2014.