RETIREMENT: Realities & ReflectionsEditor’s Note: Monthly asked local writer and business consultant Jack Wilson (master of the “how not to retire’ philosophy) to provide a multi-faceted perspective regarding retirement. He interviewed a cross-section of locals who asked him to omit their last names.

Picture this: two men sitting casually in an office. The one behind the desk says to the other, “I had planned to step down to spend more time with my family, but my family talked me out of it.” Sure, it’s a funny line from a classic cartoon in Parade magazine, but there is a ring of familiarity to it. Isn’t “spending more time with the family” often stated as a reason for one’s retirement, a subject many of us think about, whether we’re facing it now or at some point in the future? But is retirement really inevitable? Is it the same for us as it was for our parents and grandparents? If not, how has it changed and how might it have changed our own thinking about these “golden years?”

Fair weather and mild winters bring yachts to the waters of Hilton Head Island.

Fair weather and mild winters bring yachts to the waters of Hilton Head Island.It’s a rite of passage that occurs each spring and fall, those times of transition in weather highlighted by the slow, stately approach of yachts to the waters of Hilton Head Island.

“It’s a natural place to take a break,” said George Barr, captain of Camaraderie, a sleek 52-foot Tayana cutter-rigged ketch. “After sailing on the open ocean for eight or ten hours, you really want to get off the boat for a while and have dinner at a good restaurant.”

A few years ago, Barr retired as an IT specialist for a national electronics firm. Shortly after his last day at work, he and his wife Janet finally realized their dream of living and traveling aboard their sailboat, which they had painstakingly refitted. On their first extended passage, they set sail from their home port in North Carolina and headed south along the Eastern Seaboard for the Caribbean. Hurricane season had run its course, and it was finally safe to untie the dock lines.

Local fishing family shares its passion for water sports with the Lowcountry.

Charles and Sheri Getsinger, the owners and co-captains of the Hilton Head Boating Center.Charles Getsinger, a licensed charter boat captain and owner of the Hilton Head Boating Center, can’t remember the first fish he ever caught, or even the biggest. But that’s because as an avid fisherman and boater, he’s caught many big fish over the years, including sharks, blue marlin, cobia, and several other Lowcountry favorites.

“We’ve caught everything there is to catch around here at one time or another,” said Getsinger, who regularly fishes with his wife and business partner, Sheri Getsinger. They have been fishing in the Hilton Head Island and Beaufort area all their lives. Charles grew up in Ridgeland, was a charter captain off of Hilton Head Island for 12 years, and guided hundreds of novice and experienced fishermen on excursions around the area’s numerous waterways.

A Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

A Mother’s Day Gift Guide.As Mother’s Day approaches, figuring out what to give your mother, grandmother, wife or favorite aunt doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. The perfect gift could be as simple as a handmade card or as extravagant as a Caribbean cruise.

While no material gift can equal your love for her, the thoughtfulness that goes into the selection can convey what’s in your heart. You can say it with something as traditional as flowers or candy, but what’s most important is that you match the gift to the recipient’s needs and desires. Thinking about her age, interests and lifestyle, use our list to spark your imagination, and let her unique personality be your guide.

Getting the most out of your golden years.

Getting the most out of your golden years.So you have successfully navigated through several of  life’s challenges in education, marriage, parenting and your career, and now you have the opportunity to excel in a well-earned, uh, retirement?

That last word seems to mean different things to different people. Perhaps it means leisure, recreation, travel, reading, family visits, etc. Maybe it includes volunteering and humanitarian activities. But if it excludes doing any form of part-time, income-producing work, you should stop reading right here and enjoy yourselves.

A look at health concerns facing the aging population of Baby Boomers.

Boom or BUST?Approximately 12.5% of the United States’ population is over the age of 65. As America ages, needs for healthcare and medications increase. The number of people who may fall into the role of caregiver increases as well. Whether it is the spouse, an adult child, or a hired helper, the job of caregiver can greatly change the caregivers life. One phenomenon that has increased is the “sandwich generation” - a group of adults who still have young or school-aged children at home but are also caregiver of aging parents.

Sometimes children may have moved far away from their parents, because of job opportunities or desire to live in a certain area. For that reason, it may become necessary to seek help within the parents’ community. However, it will take some time and decision making even when it is not feasible to become the caregiver.