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My decision to retire

January 1, 2005 By    

After 43 years in the petroleum industry (37 with Blossman Gas), I decided to retire. It was a difficult decision to leave a job I truly loved.

Bob Mayer
Bob Mayer

The decision has raised several common questions that I would like to share.

What prompted my decision to retire?

First and foremost, I felt the company was in good condition and we had a group of dedicated managers and employees that would keep it operating smoothly.

Secondly, my wife, Linda, and I enjoy our children and grandchildren. At this time they are scattered in four Southeastern states and we wanted more time to visit with them.

Thirdly, I felt a need to give back to the community in the way of volunteer work, particularly the needy and sometimes forgotten.

Last, but not least, I was looking forward to the freedom to do the things I enjoy doing when I want to do them – fish, golf, woodworking and rest.

What planning must you do to consider retiring?

Plenty! Of course, financial planning must be first so that you can live like you want to and feel comfortable. In that plan must be a means to cover medical costs. If a person does not qualify for Social Security and Medicare, they must have some sort of other coverage. After your major medical costs are somewhat covered, you need to itemize your annual income and expenses.

Assume a propane owner sells his company for $1.5 million. After paying off the bank and taxes, the owner is left with $800,000 and invests the proceeds in various ways. Both he and his spouse are 65 and plan to retire. Their financial plan may look like this:


The difference between income and expenses is the amount you have to travel, gamble or give away annually. Note the amount for a vehicle, assuming you trade cars every five years. .

Also, the planning process must include what one wants to do when he/she retires. I highly recommend having a plan that includes doing something everyday and do not wake up with nothing on your agenda for that day. In my first year, I do not know how I found time to work.

Any surprises in our retirement plan?

Yes, the cost of prescription drugs have been triple of what we budgeted. Having had a medical and prescription plan while employed, I did not know the true cost of medication. Also, I learned just before I retired that 85 percent of Social Security benefits are taxable and, of course, impacted the net cash in the example above.

On the plus side, Social Security paid more than I expected, so it all about washed out.

Another surprise was the number of needy people in our small community. It did not take long to fill a day or two per week doing volunteer work.

Has the stock market affected our retirement plans?

We do not have a lot invested in the market, but the lower interest rate on CDs and bonds has lowered our income.

Being a conservative family, we have invested in fixed-rate securities that cover our basic, everyday expenses. The rest is in the market in hopes that it covers inflation. Many advisers want retirees to have a more balanced portfolio. But no matter what plan you pick, you must keep your money working for you unless you plan to go back to work.

Have I missed working?

I am fortunate that John Blossman and the other officers asked me to stay on their board and work with the National Propane Gas Association. It enables me to stay in touch with my many friends in the industry. Also, being welcomed to visit our main office and stores means a lot in helping me make the transition.

I only wish every employee could work for a company that truly appreciates past performances the way Blossman Gas has shown its appreciation to me and Linda.

Mayer retired in 2000 as president of Blossman Gas in Ocean Springs, Miss.

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