What does retirement mean to you? Al Smith, Smith’s Jewelry Store – Age 88
At the age of 88, Al Smith went to work five days a week. In an interview on May 16, 2017, Mr. Smith answered several questions as to why he never thought about retiring.
His first and only job started in 1951. He joined his father’s jewelry store and still operates it today. The reason for continuing to work had nothing to do with money but rather his passion for the craft and the joy he got from working with his customers and employees.
He was asked if he had to choose another job or profession what would it be? Mr. Smith said, “I guess I would get a job somewhere working on watches.”
We asked: So you still come to work every day? He said, “Every day but Wednesday and Sunday.” Why do you do that? “Because we are open every day but Wednesday and Sunday.” His point was well taken. It is his business and the people depend on him.
What advice would you give someone nearing retirement? He said, “Keep working or find something to do, something to get up for every morning.”
On June 3, just two weeks after this interview, Al Smith suddenly passed away. He worked until the end of his life, doing what he loved. He loved serving his customers and the daily interactions with his employees and others.
Retirement means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?