Retirement Planning Strategies March 2019


Al Ossinger’s Incredible Retirement

There are 54 “fourteeners” in Colorado, which is to say 54 peaks that are more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Only a select few can claim to have summited all of those mountains. Al Ossinger, one of our clients, is a member of that elite club. What’s even more remarkable is that Al has finished each of these climbs at least three times. Of course, making the remarkable seem routine is nothing new for Al, though his humble nature would preclude him from saying so. Al credits his lifelong love of nature and climbing to his experience in the Boy Scouts of America during his youth. “The first time I ever camped was because of the Scouts,” Al reveals. “I was as green as they come at that time and had to learn by doing. I had no skills at the time, but I knew right away that nature could inspire me for a lifetime.” When Al began his undergraduate career at Stanford, he found his way to the Alpine Club by chance. “I was a member of the El Tigre Eating Club, which was an informal gathering of folks who’d hang out in the dining hall together,” Al recalls. “One member, who was a year behind me, was heavily involved with the Alpine Club. Later, tragically, we would both be struck by lightning on the same day. I survived my shock, on Longs Peak in Colorado, but he passed away in the Alps as a result of being struck. Whenever I was climbing [after that], I couldn’t help but feel him watching over me.” In addition to literally climbing dozens of mountains, Al made it his life’s work to help the environment. He worked as a chemist for the National Enforcement Investigation Center of the EPA. For want of a better description, Al essentially performed environmental forensics, figuring out when and by whom environmental regulations had been skirted. “I even got to appear in court a few times for different cases across the country,” he says. Al has reached his golden years and has had to give up climbing, but he still has plenty of passion left to burn. “Neuropathy in my feet and legs have made climbing impossible,” he says, “but I’ve turned my attention to growing flowers.” Al specializes in irises and dahlias and is constantly exploring which varieties work best in his garden.

At one point, Al had 96 varieties of iris plants growing at one time. Whether it comes to mountains or marigolds, Al doesn’t do half measures. He also enjoys spending time and creating memories with Dotty, his wife of 42 years and counting. Al credits Ann with helping him make sure his financials were in place before he transitioned to retirement about a decade ago. “In addition to being an expert in federal retirement,” Al says, “Ann is a wonderful lady, no matter how you Vander-slice it.” We’re honored to serve clients as remarkable and energized as Al Ossinger. He never fails to put a smile on our faces. Everyone should be so lucky to have a career and retirement as mind-blowingly cool as his. Thanks, Al, for being amazing!

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