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.
In the early 1900s, nearly 80 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had a job. Dora Costa, an economic historian at UCLA, says people stopped working only if they were no longer physically able to. They expected to work as long as they lived.
Is that really such a terrible idea?
Social Security was partly designed to prevent the frail elderly, those presumably abandoned by their families, from starving in the gutters. A secondary purpose was to nudge older folks out of the job market during the Depression. Of course, the Ponzi scheme vote-buying motive was there too.
Thus was the utopian concept of "retirement" sold to the American people. Today, for most people, Social Security is just one factor in their retirement equation, and everybody is expected to have a "retirement plan," as if work and productivity were something to escape.
I happen to be one of those fortunate people who likes to work. I like any sort of work. Retirement has zero appeal to me, although more vacation time does appeal to me. My goal is 4 weeks off per year.
Morally - Is it the pinnacle of life, the goal of three or four decades of work, to stop contributing to the society and become dependent on other people, especially now that SS and Medicare are both welfare programs, drawing money from the general fund every year?
Financially - Why would you put yourself in the position of having earned the last dime you'll ever earn, and living from now on at the mercy of a benevolent government (that is temporarily solvent)? I've seen how that last dime clenches up people, and it ain't pretty.
Like the Barrister, I like working and have never considered retiring, even at my advanced age of 57.
Futuristically - The advances in life extension to come this century will not be funded by National Health Services, but by private patients. The shining moment of the Boomers will come when they cash in their houses and savings to fight aging at the molecular level, and launch a new industry.
I go with NJSoldier here. Others here seem to have a rather pedestrian notion of "retirement" as something done on the backs of other. For me it means retiring from being a full-time salaryman to a life where I do what I wish when it suits me. I envision no part of it that I haven't financed with my own effort.
I never had that attitude toward my job. My goal always was to have independent means. The truth is that I don't like to take my fellow human beings' opinions into account when I decide how to spend my time.
I always envisioned "retirement" as being solvent enough to do what I wanted to do, not whatever happened to be the most profitable. If that means I keep working 'part-time" and putter around the house, or travel, or go back to school to study sometihing I was always interested in, then it would be on my terms, not the rest of society. Of course, anyone who thinks that they "will get out what they put into" Social Security is dreaming; it's just not there, it has already been plundered by Congress.
At 70 I feel like if I want to work I will but as I enjoy not having to answer to anyone ( with one exception ) I help with a number of things that I also enjoy doing and mostly without pay. We travel a lot and enjoy our retirement. The work till you drop, I think is not a good thing but to work as long as you enjoy it is.