That's what Steve@Advance thought might be happening, and it sounds likely to me. I'm choosing to look at it as a possible mechanical fault that was under control, but might have had the potential to fail at some future time. Whether that's the case or not, the new starter will probably outlast the car, now.
About retirement---my wife and I are not too settled in our minds about our upcoming retirement. No pension for either of us; just Social Security and well under a million total in savings and equity in property. I'm amazed that what would have seemed plenty to me as a young man is now not enough to guarantee that we'll be able to maintain our extremely modest standard of living for the rest of our lives. I'm also worried that we'll see some drastic adjustments in Social Security in our lifetime, too.