After 27 years as a music teacher in Little Rock, Ark., elementary schools, he's ready to start work on the Thurloo Pearson Foundation in Arts and Humanities.
Named after his father, who encouraged him and his five siblings to pursue careers in the arts, the organization would raise money to aid inner-city kids who dream of singing, dancing, playing instruments or writing.
Pearson, who won a singing scholarship to Texas A&M, says, "We want to give high school students a boost into college like I was able to have." Pearson and his wife, Vera, 40, pull in a combined $106,000 a year.
They think they can swing his retirement with the $2,400-a-month state pension for which he qualifies in three years. Vera, who will stay in the work force for 15 more years, will supply the rest of the couple's income and health insurance.
Launching a foundation will require time and commitment. Peri Pakroo, an expert on building nonprofits, says, "It takes an incredible amount of work to get something to the stage where it's up and running. There's everything from defining programs to marketing to raising money."
Chip Simon, a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., financial planner, is more concerned about whether Pearson has enough money to leave his job. He sees several challenges the couple will have to confront before Boyce can consider quitting.
For starters, in the years before Social Security kicks in, the Pearsons' income will drop to around $70,000. They also have too little saved for emergencies or for Vera's distant retirement, warns Simon.
Meanwhile, their daughter is in the 11th grade and headed for college. Even if she wins a scholarship, which the Pearsons are counting on, they may have to supplement her tuition from their earnings or their small portfolio, which is scattered among mutual funds, CDs, annuities and a savings account.
"I see a Mercedes-Benz on the balance sheet that is not paid off, and I see investments that are all over the place," says Simon. "I think the immediate financial priority is his family's own self-sufficiency."