IMRF Stories: Beverly W.

75th Anniversary

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, retirees shared with us the profound effects an IMRF pension has had on their retirement years, in ways they never anticipated when they began working for an IMRF employer.

Beverly W. of Plainfield, Illinois

I was fortunate to have landed a job for Will County back in 1975, back when I was 17 and still in high school. The Honorable Clara Hartley Woodard, the Will County Clerk, hired a few students who were in a school work program. It was just months before the 1976 presidential primary election. Learning early about the pension plan that Will County had, I was planning to make a career of it.

A Changing Landscape

Mrs. Woodard unfortunately passed away in the early 90s, and not knowing who would take over was a little scary. We were very fortunate to have Jan Gould, a longtime employee and Mrs. Woodard’s secretary. Jan gave me the opportunity to work with the elections. I worked in the Accounts Payable department/County Board division of the office when I started. I loved what I did and remember being so happy to have more opportunities to learn.

Then Jan announced that she was going to retire, and Claire Hubbell, who was our Chief Deputy, also retired. I was not sure of the future at this point. Then Nancy Schultz Voots, whom I started with in 1975, called me at home and told me that she would be running for County Clerk. I started to feel better. Nancy won and she is today our current County Clerk. Nancy promoted me to management, and I helped with getting the new election system up and going.

Transitioning Into Retirement

In 2013, I turned 55 and was eligible for retirement. It was a very easy transition to retire. IMRF reps are very professional. I received much detailed information prior to retirement, avoiding any hesitation or apprehension on my part. Questions that could arise are answered quickly by the 800 number. Everything is explained in the paperwork you receive throughout the year. The checks are deposited on time each month. Any changes, you are notified on the website and by mail. I cannot say enough good things about IMRF. In a brief conversation with me, a retired employee from the county commented, "If I knew it was that easy I would have retired earlier!"

Quality Time

Retirement has transformed my life entirely. I have a handicapped sibling and have been her guardian for over 20 years. She is older than me, and when I was working I had to fit time in for her needs. Unfortunately, I spent much of my life rushing. Now I am in cruise control! I have been retired just over three years now, blessed to have a retirement check coming each month. I spend valuable time with my sister and also with my husband. Time is of the utmost importance now, and IMRF has made that possible for someone who worked over 37 years. I am also fortunate to still be in good health and reap the benefits of such a great (and definitely rare) retirement plan.

My husband and I enjoy concerts, vacations, and most of all the bike trails in and around Illinois. We went to several trails out of state over the past few years. I am proud to say I can bike for three hours or more at a time and go 20-30 miles in one trip. I enjoy seeing wildlife and hearing the birds sing. I do a lot of thinking and meditation on my bike, and I have my iPod and an attached speaker to enjoy my favorite songs. IMRF made this opportunity for me to enjoy whatever life I have left, and I am making the most of it.

I am proud to be a member of IMRF and hope future retirees have the same benefits they deserve. Don’t wait too long to retire as some do. There is so much to see and do.