How Are Your Retirement Plans Working Out?
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How Are Your Retirement Plans Working Out?

Alan Smirin, Esther Rothstein, Noah Gurock, and Lydia Schloss on their best-laid retirement plans vs. reality.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Alan Smirin

Alan Smirin is enjoying the “Third Act” of his life.

I’m calling my retirement “Act Three!”

Act One was in show business. I spent 18 years doing publicity, promotions and events. Working for major film studios, live shows and sporting events, I traveled throughout the country, enjoying a very exciting, glamorous life.

Act Two began when my stepfather, Irwin Greenbaum, of blessed memory, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I purchased Tower Wine & Spirits in East Atlanta and owned it for 23 years. At that time, I became involved in the Jewish community. I was president of (My mom would be proud). I sold my business in August 2015 and retired. It was then that I became president of B’nai Torah.

Following my B’nai Torah presidency, my stepbrother, Michael Greenbaum, asked me to help out at the Tower Piedmont. It was great seeing old friends and customers. In the spring, I ordered Passover wines, dealing with salesmen and wholesalers, and realized I missed the business game.

Now, in Act Three, I am a residential realtor with Keller Williams Atlanta Perimeter. I set my own hours, help people find their dream home, and earn a few extra shekels. I am still community-involved, do public speaking, and just joined the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.

I love retirement. Being involved in the Jewish community has been the most rewarding.

Esther Rothstein wanted to volunteer for NASA.

Esther Rothstein

I was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. When I retired in 2012, I planned to move to Cocoa Beach, Fla., to volunteer for NASA at Cape Canaveral. I hoped that my lifetime of teaching and years of obsessively following the space program would get me a spot; I would have volunteered in any job just to be there. (There was a time when I stayed up all night watching the NASA channel, waiting for a launch, to make sure the capsule or shuttle was OK.) I hoped the folks at NASA would acknowledge my dedication and knowledge and make me an official NASA guide, fulfilling my dream of going to work wearing my own NASA jumpsuit.

I planned to sell my Atlanta home and move to a deluxe trailer park near Cape Canaveral, but two coinciding events aborted my mission. The NASA shuttle program was canceled, and big corporations bought the deluxe trail park land for its profit potential.

Next, a friend suggested that I use my teaching experience to volunteer at the Georgia Aquarium. The only way to avoid the years-long waiting list was to work a late-night shift feeding the fish. I like fish, but I wasn’t ready to walk back to my car at 3:00 a.m.

Instead of becoming a devoted volunteer, I became a devoted traveler. In retirement, I’ve been to Italy, Spain, Ireland, England, France, Greece, Croatia, Costa Rica, Alaska, Hawaii, and Tahiti, and enjoyed two Mediterranean cruises. As soon as the pandemic allows, I’ll be on the next plane to New Zealand.

Noah Gurock continues to produce news stories in his retirement.

Noah Gurock

Retirement? What retirement?

More than 7 years ago, I retired from writing and producing television news in the New York-New Jersey area, where I was an assignment editor or producer for major TV stations, including WABC-TV and WWOR-TV, where I ended my NY-NJ career. Among the stories I produced was the 9/11 attack on New York in 2001, which earned me one of my five Emmy Awards. I also won Emmy Awards for coverage of the World Trade Center explosion in 1992 and for the best single show in 1997. Prior to that I worked for WCBS-TV, where I won a 1987 Emmy for our station’s Boro Park building collapse coverage. I also worked for a while at WABC-TV News.

Before entering the TV news field, I began my professional journalism writing for The Jewish Press in New York and The Danbury News-Times in Connecticut.

My wife, Peggy, is a school-based occupational therapist. I “retired” to Atlanta to be close to two of our four children and grandchildren. But news was still in my bones. So, when we moved to Atlanta, I looked for freelance TV news work in metro Atlanta, and WSB-TV quickly picked me up. Since that time, I have worked as a freelance news writer, working an average of 3-5 days a week (any day but Shabbat), and I am not yet ready to hang up my laptop and notepad.

Lydia Schloss looks forward to spending more time in Israel.

Lydia Schloss

In 2001, after 17 years as Beth Jacob preschool director, the needs of my aging parents and my own family were great. My husband, Norman, was traveling more and I needed time to unwind. One day I was approached by Atlanta realtor Marc Goldin, who asked if I knew anyone interested in working for him part-time in his nearby office. We worked amicably together for 8 years.

By that time, both of my parents required full-time care and we moved them into our home. The sacrifices my Holocaust survivor parents made for my sister and myself could never be repaid, and it was wonderful having them with us, and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren coming and going all the time.

After my parents passed away, I was able to care for myself. Over the next year, I lost over 100 pounds, volunteered at Beth Jacob, and traveled to visit our married kids in New Jersey.

Meeting with my daughter, Tzippy Teller, and Jodi Wittenberg resulted in creating The Spicy Peach. Now, 8 years later, Norman and I bought an apartment in Israel near our son and his family. We have more time for our grandkids and travel. I am busy with the store when I’m in Atlanta and hope to continue, but we plan on more traveling and time in Israel, where there are lots of volunteer opportunities and countless classes. In Israel, we found a shul we like very much, made new friends, and reconnected with Atlanta friends who made aliyah.

I will probably never truly retire, just try new things, and travel back and forth. I look forward to spending time with our oldest grandchildren during their gap year in Israel!

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