We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, May 26. 2009
TigerHawk agreed with what I have said here many times: Retirement is over-rated. What is your number? The false promise of idle retirement.
He doesn't get to all of the important considerations, though.
First, many have no option but to retire. Laid-off career guys in their 50s have a tough time finding employment. Some (esp government) jobs offer pensions after x years which make continuing in the job economically silly. OK, they can do something else - and many do.
Second, as Tiger notes, many have jobs which they do not particularly enjoy or with which they have become bored - yet have life responsibilities to fulfill. An "attitude adjustment" might be nice, but it ain't so easy. The main reward of many if not most jobs is the sense of fulfilling a family responsibility rather than the work itself.
Third, many value the notion of being "idle." "Idle" may be the wrong word, though, because most retired folks seem to stay pretty busy, from what I see. It can mean more time for hobbies, for fishing and hunting and boating and mowing your own lawns and fields, doing your own home repairs, spending more time with friends, volunteering, and maybe more trips.
Fourth, I think "the number" is important. If you hit your number (which few can say they have right now), work can be more enjoyable because it seems more optional. You know you can say "Take this job and shove it" whenever you want.
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I've been in the adult work force for 33 years now. I probably have between 15 and 20 to go. Much of the time -- most of the time -- I've had the good fortune of a job that paid me to do what I would have done by choice if I were independent of a salary. But some days do drag, either because the task load is low or because I am in a patch of dreary tasks or just feeling dreary (can't blame the job for that one).
I find that I do like my free days. I like to sleep in if I feel like it and get to whatever I'm doing as I feel like it. This inclination grows stronger each year. I still enjoy my job, but I look forward to several years of being master of my own time and schedule. My father had several years of enjoyable retirement involving some community service; my father-in-law died before he was 60 and never enjoyed a few years for himself.
Well, just having watched my 401K & IRAs decline precipitously, I'm of a mind to work until they kick me out.
I am 59 and a scheduler in a manufacturing operation. I love what I do and enjoy the connection to the 200+ people in the plant (we are all making things together as a group). As long as I am of sound mind and can make it to my desk each day, I'll keep it up.
It's important to live a balanced life, I think. I have given up higher level chances (not opportunities- chances) for this one; where I have time to pursue a few hobbies and be active at church. Possibly the strength I receive from spending time with my family, friends and creative activities allows me to enjoy my work so fully.
Idle retirement isn't quite right, if you achieve it by saving.
Saving means that you did something that somebody valued enough to pay for, but did not cash in the ticket to get the economy to do something for you.
Instead, you saved it, planning to spend it later.
So you're owed what you saved. It was a payment to you for something you did.
In the meantime, it was capital, and capital is what raises wages, the reason a ditch digger with a shovel makes a lot less than a ditch digger with heavy equipment.
That said, future services are provided by future workers and cannot be banked. If there are too many retirees and too few workers serving them, no financial arrangement is going to work.
So the average retirement age has to go up. If you personally want to retire sooner, you have to save more than the average person wants to.
The average retirement age will go up owing to demographics, either by Social Security change or by a reduced return on investment for private savings until it does.
Or have more kids.
In my youth, "retirement" was supposed to mean a withdrawal from working every day at a worthwhile job. As such, it held a lot of negatives for people who didn't want to be suddenly sidelined from feeling useful and important in a workaday world. Some folks just "took and died" within six months of being sidelined. Other folks, mostly men, decided to drive their busy wives crazy by suggesting improvements in the way they did things.
Today, many people are smarter than that. They simply decide to declare a moratorium on what they did for a living, and start a new career. Used to be, among the hardworking middle class, that the newly retired would pick something they really liked to make a second career of. Now, with the precipitous decline in the economy, many of them are going to have to make a virtue out of a necessity and continue to work, hopefully at something they might enjoy a little more than their first careers.
My husband and I ran into an old friend, an artist-cum-design guy, at Wal-Mart not long ago. We decided that, with computers and other kinds of communication devices, we could keep on working as long as we had our brains about us, because our clients never had to see us in person and thus realize that we're old.
Great sense of freedom to that. If you can't see me, I bet you can't tell how old I am. In fact, you might think I'm quite childish.
Anyway, the thought is cheering, isn't it? I might even be able to outlive Obama's Presidency.
Most of us would surely benefit from your living beyond Obama's Presidency.
My idea of a job (30+years spending others money to build Things) disappeared a while back. So now I am doing Nothing (maintain the shop, keep the automobiles in repair, tend the garden, fix Stuff for others, make an occasional widget for pay, bake a few loaves of bread, go to the range to shoot all that ammunition I've reloaded) and I find that I don't have time to look for work because I still haven't finished doing nothing... I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
That's kind of what I'm hoping for myself in about 10-15 years. I have in mind a general-duty-aid job in the schools, helping at lunchtime and maybe as a crossing guard. Mild work, helps out the kids. Or maybe substitute teaching without a credential.
One grandfather was forced to retire at 72 and died ten days later. Work-a-holic, which cost him three marriages, but had great relationships with his children and grandchildren. The ultimate toy-meister
The other, also forced into retirement at 72, became a consultant for his company, earning twice what he received/year when he was a salaried worker (used to chuckle about that) and continued "working" until about 80. Also continued to play golf (Oklahoma heat) through his mid-80s and NEVER used a golf cart...carried his bag. After his "retirement" (I'm stuggling to figure out exactly when that was), he contributed many hours of teaching at his church and retirement village -- math, bridge, languages (he knew Latin from school, but taught himself Greek,Hebrew.etc. as he thought the Bible has been mis-translated). Died of pneumonia at 98 after falling out of bed and breaking a bone.
Miss both of these guys, but value the idea that their work was an enjoyable passion. They found their niche. We should all wish as much. Getting up each day as a contributing member of society...paid or not... is rewarding unto itself.
As usual, Marianne, good comment.
This blog is mostly about liberty.
It is almost impossible for anyone to find true liberty working for someone other than themselves.
I have worked both public and private jobs and have been self employed.
The level of liberty is highest with self employment and lowest with public employment. Go figure???
I retired at 56---three years ago. I will not go back to work for anyone else again!!!
Am I idle---hell no! I work for what I want and chose.
I retard about four or izzat six years ago --i call myself a trader but that's not really true --i spend a lot of time on very few trades but 90% of that time is spent monitoring info about ten times as often as i need to, in a given span of time.
That 90%, unless it would have changed what i ended up doing anyway (buy, sell, or hold a given issue at a given time), will have been wasted time, since the decision will have almost invariably required only the remainder 10%. This leaves the 90% as what might be described as "luxury dithering".
Dithering rarely changes what one means to do anyway, but it makes an unchallengeable excuse to sit here on my behind and play on the computer.
Whenever it occurs to me to think of them, i can feel coming thru the air the brain waves from my inner clan, emanating from their diverse & sundry locations, thinking "I wish the old fart was like he used to be, charging around barking orders and making us snap to!"
I intercept these thoughts, and send back "Hey, these are parlous times, and SOMEBODY has to watch cable news eighteen hours a day!"
And they intercept that thought, and send back "Oh? Prove it!"
And i intercept that, and send back "Every minute our ass ain't broke yet proves it."
Then they send back, "Oh, okay."