Blog and Blogger

The Robust Retirement blog is designed to inform and enrich your
retirement years.  I want to help you think objectively about your retirement goals, finances, lifestyle, housing and care, and to make well-informed decisions about each of these.

In the 25+ years I have studied seniors housing and care and informally advised family, friends and co-workers, I have observed far too many pre and post retirees let their fear of aging, stereotypes about retirement and preconceived ideas about seniors housing and care push them into bad choices, making their retirement much less enjoyable than it could be.

When researching my own retirement options, I found an information gap on
the web between (1) commercial websites and blogs offering information and
advice as a hook to sell a product or service, and (2) blogs documenting an
individual’s retirement experiences, sometimes in excruciating daily detail,
but providing little useful information or advice.

Reading this blog will not guarantee you a robust retirement but it should
help you make better decisions about your retirement goals, finances, lifestyle,
housing and care, so you can fully enjoy a time in your life unfettered by the demands of advancing your career and raising a family.

Blogger – Jerry Doctrow

Transition to Retirement –I turned 65 and partially retired in 2015.  My working life spanned 43 years.
Over the last 25 years of my career, I worked as a market analyst, stock analyst
and investment banker specializing in senior housing and care and
healthcare real estate. I was recognized seven times as a Wall Street Journal
Allstar while working as research analyst and I really enjoyed my job. The
great thing about being an analyst is that you interact with and are
constantly challenged by extremely smart people nationally and
internationally and I was fortunate to earn the respect of some of the world’s
best institutional investors.

My father died on my birthday in 2003 at age 88 and my mother died in 2005
at age 87. I lost my older brother, Martin Doctrow, to a never-diagnosed
debilitating neurological illness in 2014, when he was only 68 years old. My
brother’s death was a major influence on my decision to retire at a relatively
young 65. It reminded me to enjoy live while you can. I was fortunate
to have the financial resources for a long and comfortable retirement.

When I announce my retirement, my employer, Stifel Nicholas, offered me the opportunity to work less than full-time and shift from equity research to investment banking. My role as an investment banker was to use my senior housing and health care real estate industry knowledge and contacts to identify and market investment opportunities. I worked with Stifel’s real estate
investment banking team and we completed a number of significant
transactions during my two-years as part-time investment banker.

Shifting from full time work to part time work to full retirement is a great way
to transition. With labor markets tight, many employees now working from
home and experienced baby-boomers starting to retire in larger numbers, I
believe most professional firms are open to flexible work schedules for employees transitioning to retirement.

Since I fully retired from Stifel in 2017, I continue to work as a for a select
group of clients for a limited number of hours through Robust
Retirement, LLC. In November 2016 I joined the Board of Directors of Quality
Care Properties (QCP). QCP’s CEO was Mark Ordan, well known as a seniors housing and care turn-around specialist. In April 2018 QCP was sold to Welltower (WELL) REIT for nearly $2 billion. In January 2021 I joined the Board of Directors of Roland Park Place, a not-for- profit CCRC located near my home in Baltimore.

Housing & Care Choices – In 2006, my wife and I moved from a rambling two-story detached home on a good-sized lot to a thee-bedroom three-bath condominium in a historic mid-century building designed by Mies van der Rohe. Our 2,700 sq. ft. condo is on one level, with wide doorways. The building is elevator served, has valet parking, a 24 hour-staffed front desk and a door-person who will bring your groceries and packages to your unit. We recently installed grab bars in the master bath.

My wife and I are in reasonably good health but I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in September 2018. My symptoms are pretty well-managed with medication prescribed by a motor disorder specialist but exercise, not medication is the only thing shown to slow the progression of Parkinson’s. The exercise program I use is Rock Steady Boxing, which was in a gym pre-pandemic and online over the last two years. It is offered free of charge four times a week by the Maryland Association for Parkinson’s Support (MAPS). Each session offers an hour-long combination of intense boxing, aerobic, strength, balance an d cognitive exercises specifically designs for Parkinson’s patients that leaves you covered in sweat at end of each session.

I am a great fan of Rock Steady Boxing – hence the photo that now tops my blog. It gives me a way to fight my illness and I am in the best physical condition of my life since I played varsity foot and did regular weight training in junior high school. I have lost about 30 pounds since I retired in 2017, dropped four inches from my waist and have much improved muscle tone.