The University Record, February 18, 1997

Now happily retired, benefits counselor practiced what she preached

Sue Lowe knows how to retire.

Lowe was communications supervisor in the Benefits Office for four years, and it was part of her job to know what steps to take before retirement and to help people understand how to plan for that change.

How did she decide it was time to leave?

"My husband had decided to retire, and I checked to see whether I was eligible, too," Lowe says. "But we didn't plan to retire and just sit around the house. We had something to retire to."

Lowe and her husband had purchased property near Gladwin, and as they made decisions about building on it and had to give deadlines to the contractors, they knew it was time to choose.

"Gradually, by the decisions we made about the house and moving, we had to set a date."

The first thing Lowe did was to talk to her supervisor, Marty Eichstadt, Human Resources and Affirmative Action's director of benefits, at least six months before her prospective retirement date.

"When some people retire, their supervisor is the last to know," Lowe says. "But supervisors need to be able to plan ahead. I talked with Marty and we set a definite date."

Then Lowe sent memos around to let everyone know she planned to leave, helped find someone to take her place, then met with TIAA representatives and a Benefits Office retirement counselor to talk about what benefits would be hers at retirement and what she might want to change---dental and vision plans, life insurance or health insurance.

With all that out of the way, Lowe left the University at the end of last month and is now happily preparing to move into her new home. She plans to golf, travel and snowshoe her way through what will be a very active retirement life.

But she says she will miss the people at the U-M.

"I liked the projects at work," she says. "It didn't seem like work---it seemed like fun."