Kupuna Life: Starting retirement, enjoying life during a pandemic

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Cindy Werkmeister set a retirement goal, like many people. Things got more stressful when COVID hit.

“Two years ago, I said, ‘when my youngest son graduates from high school, I’m going to retire,'” said Cindy Werkmeister, a now-retired Department of Education employee.

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“If you have to change on a dime, make all these plans change on a dime,” Werkmeister said. “So when COVID hit, I said that’s it, for sure, I’m going to retire.”

Werkmeister retired in August 2021 after working 31 years for the DOE, but was she ready?

“No, I don’t think you’re ever really ready for the amount of paperwork and research you have to do,” she said.

Werkmeister still has questions about Social Security and Medicare, which is why she plans to attend upcoming retirement workshops from AARP Hawaii.

“For those who are prepared to retire and can retire,” she said, “that’s great. But not everyone has those opportunities.”

AARP Hawaii will host free, virtual workshops every week for one month starting Saturday, Sept. 11. Craig Gima from the non-profit said, people need to figure out what they want to do before they retire, versus what they need to do.

“It’s nice to be able to take trips,” Gima said, “but do you really need that when you retire and how many trips do you really need to do when you retire?”

The workshops are designed to get people thinking and planning for retirement, even if they have already worked their last day.

“I feel like when you’re working and when you’re trying to raise a family, you’re just so busy, you don’t even think about all those things, those are the things you put on the side,” Werkmeister said.

She now has the time to figure things out and do more of the things she wants to, like cleaning her house, exercising and going to the beach.

“It’s just been great, not having to worry about work and to do those things I wanted to get to but weren’t able to get to,” she said.

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Click here to visit the AARP Hawaii website for the upcoming retirement workshops.

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