The Complete Retirement

When you stop working, have you thought about how you’ll fill your days?

if made before age 59 _. However, Section 72(t) of the tax code permits some early distributions without the 10% penalty. To qualify, money must be withdrawn on a schedule that’s based upon your life expectancy and the withdrawals must continue for five years or until age 59 _ , whichever comes later. Calculations can be complex, but a financial adviser should be able to help you. By using this tactic, Ya-Saleem is pulling out about $10,000 from her IRA each year, which is subject to income tax but not the 10% penalty. For more information on 72(t) withdrawals, visit

“After having this experience and making the mistakes I have made,” says Ya-Saleem, “I would plan on a safety net of at least two years of living expenses.” Brown says that Ya-Saleem’s safety net is much larger than that because she maintains a second IRA account that is not being tapped.

Community service has been a central part of the retirement plan of James Wood, 61, who retired in 2004 after 33 years on the production line of BFGoodrich. “I’ve always wanted to be an evangelist,” he says. “While I was working, I took some correspondence courses and some evening classroom courses at Aenon Bible College. It took a couple of years, but I became an ordained minister.” Wood’s sentiments echo the findings of the nationwide New Face of Work Survey by MetLife/Civic Ventures, which found that 50% of the respondents age 50 to 70 said they were interested in taking jobs now, or in the future, to help improve the quality of life in their communities.

Now Wood preaches at various churches in and around his hometown of New Albany, Indiana. He’s also a minister across the river at Greater Christ’s Refuge Church in Louisville, Kentucky. “The Church is in a high-crime area in the west end of the city,” says Wood. “I’ve been working in day care, after-school, and summer youth programs.”

Wood also does some outdoor work for the New Albany Parks Department. “I drive a van that picks up youngsters and takes them horseback riding,” he says. “I also pick up seniors and take them to shopping centers and to doctor’s appointments.”

The Parks Department pays Wood for his efforts, providing supplemental income. That income, along with Wood’s pension from his former employer, allows Wood to avoid being ultraconservative in investing in his IRA, according to Marc Click, who heads Legacy Wealth Strategies in Louisville.

“His portfolio is divided about 60% in stocks, for growth potential, and 40% in bonds, for income and risk reduction,” says Click. “Individual stocks can be risky, though, so we’re mainly using mutual funds and unit investment trusts.”

For added income, Wood and his wife, Josephine, 60, can start to collect reduced Social Security benefits once they reach age 62. However, Josephine, who works in a nursing home, has no plans to stop working in the near future. “If they don’t need the money, they can wait to apply,” says Click. The longer you wait to begin

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