Alvin Magid - Personal Retirement Story
After a 39-year career as an academic in several universities in the U.S., the last 35 at SUNY/Albany, I retired at the end of the fall semester 2002. My decision to retire was neither dramatic nor traumatic, because I had long known why I would do so. When the time came, the run-up to retirement and what ensued were seamless, without stress of any kind.
I loved my career as a university academic. But over many years I had felt that someday the university calendar, centered on full-time teaching, would be too constraining for me, given my strong interest in going abroad regularly for teaching, research, consulting, and personal and family travel. One day in June 2002, I decided to retire (at age 65) at the end of the next semester, and I did. My wife Sally had retired five years earlier, after a wonderful 35-year career as a middle-school English teacher; she was enjoying an active retirement. Now we would have more time to spend together.
Before retiring, I took great care to ensure that our personal finances would allow me to do so. I consulted a professional estate planner and a lawyer specializing in estate planning. It was evident to all of us that from 2002 retirement would pose no financial problem for my wife and me.
I have lived a very active life over the eight years since retiring -- engaged in research and writing and in university and college teaching and consulting abroad. I've managed to complete a 900-page manuscript based on my research in Shanghai in 1989, 1991, and 1992 and am currently paring it for publication. I continued to collect Fulbright awards: for teaching and consulting in Bratislava, Slovakia, for six weeks in the fall semester 2006, another for teaching and consulting in Skopje, Macedonia for six weeks in the fall semester 2010 (these on top of the Fulbrights I had earlier received for research in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, academic year 1983-84; for teaching and research in Seoul, South Korea, academic year 1997-98; and for teaching in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, spring semester 2004).
During the academic years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, I was a Soros Foundation/Open Society Institute Higher Education Support Program International Scholar, tasked to consult on development of the political-science department in the national university in Skopje, Macedonia. In that role, I visited Skopje twice in each academic year, each time for two weeks, and went to Istanbul for several days in the spring 2008 and then again in the spring 2009 to participate in the Soros Foundation/Open Society Institute Higher Education Support Program's regional meetings.
My wife and I have been married 52 years, during many of which together we have traveled widely abroad -- in all, to about 65 countries. We have traveled widely since my retirement and plan to continue doing so -- despite some medical problems I've had in recent years. We travel widely also in the U.S., mostly to visit our three children and eight grandchildren in Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Oakland, CA; we continue to engage them also with periodic family reunions in the U.S. and Canada.
Mostly by e-mail, I communicate regularly on professional and personal matters with many individuals and organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
I also took on some other new activities in retirement. For several years I was a member of the Board of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which is affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union. Following that, I became involved in UUP affairs, having to do mostly with UUP retirees. For several years, I have been chair of the UUP's Capital Region COARM (retirees group) and a member of the statewide COARM Board.
Retirement is great, especially if you're clearheaded about when and why to retire and what you'll be doing in retirement. And if you've planned well in the matter of personal finances.