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Test-driving retirement

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Larry W., age 60
San Francisco, California
Not retired
"When you design sewers, you prepare for contingencies. I did the same for retirement."

Larry's Tips

  • Keep an eye out for workplace incentives for early retirement.
  • Plan for contingencies like rising prices and inflation.
  • Put together some sort of budget. If you're worried about putting down hard numbers, work out a range.


  • Left door open at his employer, just in case.
  • Plans to retire earlier than expected.
  • Makes plans for a living—and used those skills to address retirement.

Unsure about retirement, Larry worked out a trial period with his employer.

"I told my work, 'Give me six months to try out retirement.' I might come back part-time, because I enjoy it. Who knows? In six months I might get tired of travel, dancing, and classes, and beg to come back."

Taking advantage of workplace incentives to help plan the retirement he wants.

“I didn’t necessarily want to stop working. But they recently introduced incentives for early retirement. When I found out I could retire a year and a half earlier, I ran the numbers. I’m planning to retire in early 2009.

“I used to design sewers for the city of San Francisco. In that line of work, you prepare for every contingency. I looked at my retirement budget the same way. You don’t have to work out exact numbers. At least work out a range.”

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