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Recap: ASF Retirement Forum

On Thursday, January 16th, a group of 40 attendees came to listen to the wisdom of three retired Asian Staff Forum members to discuss their experiences about the Stanford Retirement process.

Betty Oen, Herb Fong and Cora Wu, former Asian Staff Forum board members, shared tidbits about their time at Stanford, things they discovered about retiring, the decision to retire, and tips they wanted to share with members of Asian Staff Forum and the Stanford community.

Each panelist had different reasons for retiring - health, desires to travel among them - but each still keeps a structure to their days with activities, including volunteering, exercise, and making friends that are also retired to keep themselves busy.

Some of the tips provided by our panelists:


  • Be careful on the timing of your retirement date.  You cannot pull money from your retirement account until two pay periods after your termination date.  It is highly advisable to have money saved to bridge this gap if you need to access your retirement funds.  Look at your expenses and plan ahead.
  • Decide if you want to move your retirement funds into a self managed IRA or into the annunity option - decide which option makes the most sense for you.  For our panelists, the annuity option did not make sense for them.


  • Plan ahead with your FSA! You can use the funds up to your last day on pay status.
  • The Dental PPO doesn't provide great coverage - assess if this plan will work for you or if it's better for you to pay out of pocket for dental procedures.
  • The vision coverage may not be worth it - calculate your vision needs - it may be cheaper to pay out of pocket.


  • Try to time your retirement date to be the first day of the month - not the last! If you are on pay status on the first day of the month, you will receive benefits for the entire month.
  • If you have a large vacation balance remaining, consider using terminal vacation after your last day of work, to extend the time you are on pay status, especially if it bumps you into another month.
  • Note when you are on terminal vacation, you do not receive holidays - take that into consideration if you plan to retire near the end of the year.
  • When asked if they considered slowly reducing their FTE as they eased themselves into retirement, the panel does not recommend it.  Even if you are paid for 80% FTE, more than likely you will work at 100% FTE.

Thank you again to our panelists and to our attendees and their fantastic questions!