Even partial retirement didn’t suit Paul Becker.
Becker, 72, retired in 2003 after working for nearly 30 years as deputy CFO and CFO for DuPage County in Illinois. Becker was nearing 60 at the time and had dreamed of retiring to property he had bought on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas.
Becker dabbled unhappily with part-time work for a couple of years when he saw an advertisement for the open CFO position at the city of Fayetteville. Becker applied and got the job 10 years ago.
“I feel if I’m not being productive, if I’m not adding something to society, I don’t feel right,” Becker said. “I tried working not full time; I didn’t like that.”
Becker worked in finance for manufacturing companies for seven years before entering the government sector in the 1970s. He said the constant travel of private sector work wore him out.
Government work became his specialty. He said overseeing finances for a city government is important work because he can provide the planning for projects that officials want to implement.
“We exist in government to provide services for the people,” Becker said. “At the municipal level, government is all about the allocation of resources. I can help develop a financial plan, [show] what are the financial ramifications of certain decisions being made. It’s not up to me to make a decision on whether to do certain projects.”
Of course, Becker is regularly asked how much longer he plans to work. Becker’s answer is until he gets old.
“I guess at one time  seemed really old to me,” Becker said. “As long as my health holds out and I feel like I can contribute, I’m going to hang in. When I’m old, I’m going to retire.”