Segue, By and For Faculty Transitioning to Retirement

Things to do as you move toward retirement (roughly a year earlier, or more):

We assume that you have already talked with the Provost/Dean of the Faculty and human resources about your plans to retire. Below are key areas that we want you to keep in mind during this time of transition.

Financial Planning

  1. To help with your retirement planning, we recommend meeting with your retirement vendor for an individual consultation. The dates available to meet with vendor representatives on-site, along with phone numbers to call to schedule a consultation, can be found in the One-on-One Counseling Sessions on the Human Resources Web site.
  2. Many people don’t know that, if your combined assets in your accounts are above a certain amount (around $500,000), the company may give you a financial adviser, free of charge. These people can be even more helpful in planning your financial future, choosing the most tax-advantaged ways to receive income, and filling out the forms that go on appearing.
  3. Talk to the Social Security Office in Holyoke (563-3649) to set up your payments, if you haven't already started receiving them. You also need to sign up for Medicare B and Medicare Part D (the prescription drug plan) to start as soon as you are no longer on the Smith health plan. One federal Web site can be very helpful for dates (and penalties for late sign-up).
  4. Begin to explore post-retirement health insurance options (see next section).
  5. Consider long-term care insurance, if you don't already have it. It probably isn't appropriate for everyone, and is very expensive, but for some people it may make a huge difference in the care they can afford as they age.

Retirement Health Care

Yes, there is Medicare. But Medicare isn’t free (Medicare B is quite expensive initially if your previous salary was high), and you will almost undoubtedly want to have supplementary insurance as well, since Medicare doesn’t cover many kinds of preventive care (including things like routine annual physicals). Be prepared to spend much more per month than you have on the pre-retirement Smith plan.

Smith currently recommends one post-retirement health care plan: the Benistar plan through True North, based in North Adams. It is a fine plan, with excellent prescription drug coverage (that even covers the notorious doughnut hole in the federal prescription plan). It is also expensive — roughly $300 a month — and many people who take few or no prescription drugs don't think it’s suitable for them. There is, however, a calculation you need to make: you have to sign on immediately when you retire; there’s no possibility of joining the plan later, when you’re older and possibly sicker.

Human Resources cannot counsel individual retirees on healthcare options. Many recent retirees have found SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) very useful. SHINE offices are located in Northampton at the Senior Center on Conz Street (587-1228); there are also offices in Greenfield, Montague, and Florence. The state-wide number is (800) 243-4636 or you can find useful information at their Web site. SHINE offices are staffed by volunteers who have been carefully trained and who must participate in further training once a month (healthcare possibilities change so often that this is necessary). SHINE staff can lay out the current options that seem appropriate for your situation and help you choose between them.

Moving Out of Your Office

Normally, faculty members keep their Smith offices for one year after they retire. Please contact Danielle Ramdath who will work with you to determine your future office needs.

How To Do It?

For some neat and well-organized people, moving an office isn't hard; for most of us it means spending some weeks and months sorting through books and materials.

The College Archives is interested in acquiring many of your papers: class notes, official Smith correspondence, professional correspondence, letters from old students, even appointment books. They will give you boxes for them, and send someone to pick them up. Contact Nanci Young, the college archivist, at nyoung@smith.edu or at ext. 2976.

The Smith College Libraries may accept some of your books. Gift-in-kind donations must meet the same criteria as those used to select current purchases, that is, they should be scholarly works published within the last two to three years not already held in the Libraries. Depending on the nature of the collection offered, other kinds of materials may be accepted. For detailed guidelines and procedures, please see Giving to the Libraries. Please consult with Jim Montgomery or your department's subject liaison for further information.

Many organizations sponsor donations of books and journals to colleges and universities. Louis Wilson in Afro-American Studies, for example, has contacts with several institutions in Liberia.

Locally, Ty Lorenzo in Hatfield (TNL Books, (413) 247-0214 or tnlbooks@tnlbooks.com) will come to your office with many boxes, fill them with books you don't want, and take them away. Those he thinks he can sell he will list online and split the proceeds with you. The others he will donate to Hands Across the Water (a non-profit, global pro-literacy organization) and send you a receipt for a tax deduction.

Some local bookstores will buy selected used academic books they think they can sell.

You are not alone. Once you have gone through your materials and packed them, your academic assistant can help you submit all internal work orders, and student workers may be available to help you pack. Smith will arrange and pay for moving books and any office furniture you own to your new office, to your house and/or for donations. Contact Danielle Ramdath in the Provost's Office for more details.

Guidelines for Office Assignments

The Emeriti Advisory Committee has created a set of guidelines for office assignments.