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Transitioning to retirement

November 25, 2014

"I'm going to spend more time at the cottage, more time with my dad, and more time golfing, playing volleyball, volunteering and travelling," said Vicki Woods about her ideal retirement plans.

After 37 years as a French teacher with the Toronto District School Board, Vicki retired this past June along with just over 2,850 other teachers across Ontario.

Vicki's mom and grandmother were both teachers, and as a little girl, she recalls them always trying to help their students be the best they could be. It was then Vicki knew she wanted to teach. She wanted to help her students learn and to really enjoy life and appreciate the world they live in.

Agnes Macphail Public School was where Vicki spent the majority of her teaching years. She loved the culture of the school and the togetherness of the entire community. Vicki went beyond her role as a French teacher at Agnes Macphail. She started and evolved an environment club, and also organized many of the school assemblies and staff socials. Vicki brought a special kind of energy that spread throughout the school.

According to Vicki, the people she worked with at Agnes Macphail were very close and always worked together as a team. It was something the students recognized and appreciated. In fact, Vicki said it had a direct impact on the students' behaviour. Through this example, they had a better understanding of the value of teamwork and it showed through the interactions with each other, in and out of the classroom.

A milestone birthday marking retirement

Vicki first started thinking of retirement when she noticed her peers retiring. But Vicki wasn't ready at age 54 so she set a six-year goal for herself. Turning 60 seemed like a good time for her to retire.

"I didn't leave my retirement planning to the last minute. There's a lot of paperwork and details that I needed to take care of in order to retire at age 60," adds Vicki. "Leading up to retirement, I remember attending the school board retirement sessions, reviewing pension estimates on Teachers' pension calculator, and speaking with my financial advisor."

She pictured a retirement where she could live comfortably and not worry about finances, so making sure she had a solid foundation to support her and her family's lifestyle was very important to her.

"If you are sensible with how you spend and manage your money, you shouldn't have to worry about your day-to-day life during retirement," Vicki continues. "For me, I didn't have any financial burdens to think about. All along I knew there was a pension plan in place, so I was never worried about finances."

There are so many things Vicki wants to do during retirement, and now that it is in full swing, she is able to carry them all out.

"Starting school when you're five and leaving when you're 60, that's a long time. I was ready to retire and let other teachers step in."