Wavering on retirement? Friendly skies ahead.

The recent news on the mass retirement of air traffic controllers was stunning on many levels. For one, the sheer numbers and their potential impact on safety and on-time travel. Of nearly 13,000 fully certified controllers on the job in September, 2002, only some 11,000 remain today.

A Wall Street Journal piece deemed the exodus reasonably predictable, as many controllers hired in the wake of Reagan's 1981 mass firing of 12,000 striking controllers are now becoming eligible to retire. The problem: the FAA can't bring trainees into the system fast enough. And for me, the real kicker: bonuses as high as $24,000 are mostly failing to retain retiring controllers.

Talk about the next great example of brain drain, and of extraordinary opportunity for you if you're on the cusp of retirement. You don't need to go to flight school. It's across the board.