Book by David W. Leslie & Valerie Martin Conley
Review by Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
Kansas State University
NACADA Executive Director

Places to go and things to do!  That is what is luring me into retirement.  After devoting 36 years to one institution (and enjoying most of it), I am looking for new adventures and projects of the non-academic type.  Like many baby boomers, my time is nearing; fortunately for me, my institution offers an option of “phased retirement” - an opportunity to reduce my work time (and salary) for up to five years before completely ending my work here.  Thus, this book interested me and provided insights for consideration before making my decision.

This issue in the Jossey-Bass “New Directions in Higher Education” series presents information on some existing “phased retirement” programs, identifying who is most likely to participate and why, along with benefits and detractions for retirees and institutions. Authors provide a comprehensive and concise look at all aspects of the phased retirement option.

Faculty and staff who participate in defined benefit retirement plans (often more likely state based) will NOT benefit from this retirement option if retirement pay is based on salary over the last years of employment since phased retirement usually reduces salary in return for a set limit of continued employment and waiver of tenure obligations.  It WILL be of interest to those participating in TIAA-CREF or similar defined contribution retirement plans since many plans also allow for receipt of retirement funds along with the reduced salary and retirement pay is not based directly on final contribution years.  The research included added incentives offered by some institutions: continued contributions to retirement, health benefits, and enhanced salaries e.g., 70% pay for 50% work!  That sounds good!  Let’s look for those institutions!

Of course, each institution sets the parameters of its phased retirement program. Still, this book (a quick read) will help the reader understand what issues should be examined as you consider a decision that can assure that you have what you need to go places and do things in your retirement.

New Ways to Phase into Retirement: Options for Faculty and Institutions. (2005) Book by David W. Leslie & Valerie Martin Conley, Eds. Review by Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 96 pages. $29.00 Paperback. ISBN # 0-7879-8569-4
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