Suzanne Goodrich - Personal Retirement Story
When I began my teaching career, I opted to join NYSTRS because of its stability. I also contributed to a tax-deferred annuity, Opportunity Plus. My husband, Clyde, also a retired teacher, has both investments as well. NYSTRS provides COLA increases which help to keep up with inflation and with our working expenses eliminated, we both are presently comfortable with our financial situation. We are both now collecting Social Security which gets invested. We have yet to depend upon the annuities or Social Security although we know that living costs will overtake our pensions at some point.
I retired in 2000, a year or so earlier than I had planned, due the unexpected death of one parent and the responsibility of care for the other parent and their home. Choices had to be made and retirement was the best option. However, because of the financial planning that I have already mentioned, I felt confident that all would be well.
I was an active volunteer in many organizations outside of work while I was teaching at Herkimer County Community College. I was certain that I would have an active retirement as well and my calendar shows this to be true. I volunteer to instruct introductory computer courses at our local library. I am also serving in my eighth year as a library trustee. I belong to an active book club which is very rewarding and often includes field trips associated with some of our book choices. I guide a genealogy group at the library where I assist in helping members to use the computer and other resources for research. In our local Historical Society, we are busy organizing and sorting the large volume of materials gathered over the years. The next step is the digitizing of all printed material, a daunting but necessary task. On the lighter side, I am a member of The Mount Wellington Red Hat Society, a small group of ladies in Springfield, NY, who have become a close group of best friends who enjoy having fun together.
As if gardening the produce from which I spend time preserving and taking care of portions of our 50 acres were not enough to keep us busy, we now employ thousands of bees in our newly established apiary. This presents challenges of its own but we have a good local market for the honey. I am becoming quite creative with cooking and baking with honey but will admit that most of the work with the bees is done by my husband.
My husband and I have two children and four grandchildren all of whom live three hours away in opposite directions. Although we have weekdays ‘off’, they don’t so visits are restricted mostly to weekends. I am constantly reminded of how quickly time passes every time we see our grandchildren as they are maturing in leaps and bounds.
At home and at the library, I spend a lot of time at my laptop doing family research. Although I began this project almost thirty years ago, it was not until I retired and my parental duties lessened that I was able to more actively pursue my research. I have been to Cornwall, England, to see where some of my ancestors lived before coming to America. There have been many trips to Connecticut with a cousin who has joined me in the quest for data gathering. I have also met third cousins that I didn’t know existed with whom I have been able to share what I know and who have given me much in return. At some point I will be writing it all down in order to share with all of our family members. This, of course, is assuming that my research will ever be complete!