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Life after school

August 27, 2012

Lynne Hill and Sandra Mark became good friends when they taught together for 11 years at Queen Elizabeth Public School in Sudbury. As it so happens, they also retired in the same year, roughly 15 years ago.

They chatted with Pension News Online about how they transitioned from teaching full-time to a retired life.

Sandra Mark and Lynne Hill, good friends and retired teachers from the Rainbow District School Board.

They both admit that even now, when August rolls around, they still get bursts of energy to finish projects around the house before September comes.

"You feel like your world is off-kilter for the first few months," Lynne says. "For us, the new year has always started in September. It's been ingrained as a part of life's rhythm, and when that changes, you feel like you should be doing something. It takes a while to get over that first September."

The key is to start thinking about what you want to do before you retire. "Whether it's coaching kids' sports, volunteer work, or developing a new hobby, try it out," stresses Lynne. "If you don't like it, try something else until you find something you like to do. This will give purpose to the day."

Sandra nods, adding that being an educator doesn't stop when the pension starts. "As a teacher, it doesn't matter if you're working or not, you're always learning new things." She learned to quilt in the year before she retired. Since then, both she and Lynne have joined a local arts guild and continue to develop and master new skills.

Financially, take-home pay may be less, but this also puts you into a lower tax bracket, Lynne says.

Sandra adds that expenses tend to change in retired life. "My husband and I realized we only needed one vehicle. I was scared to give up my car, but it's been okay."

"And generally mortgages are paid off, and kids are usually through school. Your income drops, but your expenses do too. I saved a lot of money on stockings and gas when I retired," Lynne laughs.

"I didn't find a diminishment in how I lived with my pension. I do all the same things that I did before and I spend a lot more money on fabric for quilting," Sandra says.