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Thursday, May 2. 2019
There is no free lunch. I tend towards working until one can no longer work, but I get some pushback from that view. If I retired, I really do not see what good I would add to the world, to my family, or to my finances. I hate the idea of feeling useless, put out to pasture. However, I have seen lives blossom in retirement, but more often I have seen lives shrink and shrivel in retirement. There can be a tendency for regression. Remember, retirement (government savings plans, social security) is a recent invention, from the 1880s by Otto von Bismarck in Germany.
Sure, to save Social Security (SS is a fait accompli), I'd gladly move "the conventional age" to 70 or 72 rather than, as it is now, the maximum. People live longer and healthier than in the past, and thus have more to offer, and longer. Retirement is not an entitlement. SS is. Of course, despite SS, anybody can work as long as they choose.
What are your views?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:24 | Comments (29) | Trackbacks (0)
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I'm in my early 60's and have been reading a fair amount about this subject. From what I've read it is beneficial to your mental and physical health to be active, engaged, and doing something of value; for the rest of your life.
I'm still working at the job I've been doing since my 20's. Sometime in the next several years I will stop doing this ... and do something else. What I will not do is retire as it is often understood and even romanticized. Going to bed and waking up without something engaging and useful to do strikes me as hell on earth.
the second part has somebody claiming that a later retirement age turns mature adults into slaves.
A slave does not work for himself. His production belongs to (or is stolen) by another. In reality, it is those below retirement age who are slaves to the social security recipients.
I'm in the group that had full SS payout moved back to age 68 by the Reagan-O'Neil deal to 'save SS' back in the day, so I'd expected to work until I was 70. As the day approaches I'm starting to rethink that. We've had a bunch of buyouts and retirements here due to a shift in technology direction, and my job has become a lot less rewarding (though, on the plus side, a lot less stressful). I've got some hobby pursuits that could absorb my time and energy, and would be better to do while I have good health rather than simply hoping to be sufficiently active later. I'm actually starting to lean towards retiring as early as practical. 62, maybe, but no more than 65 when Medicare kicks in.
When I was younger, I thought I would continue working at least until 70. I liked my job; it was mentally stimulating, had variety, and gave me a lot of control over my schedule. I taught, so I had most of the summers off.
But then as I got close to 60, the job got less rewarding (for a variety of reasons). A new administration gave subtle signs that older faculty should move on. Not actual discrimination, but more like when your hosts are trying to hint to you that you should leave because they want to go to bed.
So I wound up retiring at 62. Best decision I ever made. One of the positive sides of my eroding job satisfaction was that I became less and less defined by my work. By the time I actually retired, I had made my peace with the idea of being "unemployed."
Yes, you do have to be proactive in filling your time, but I haven't had any problem with that in the three years I've been retired. My husband and I both have long lists of things to do and I have options for projects and activities that I haven't even tried yet.
I am currently 69 and plan to work for at least 3 or 4 more years.
I don't think I would make a good retiree and I can use the extra money. I am a contract programmer and as long as the work is there I will continue. HOWEVER. Moving the retirement age out to 70, is almost an impossibility for manual workers. For a few years I was a roofer. There is no way I would be able to do that work now. So there is a whole category of workers who pretty much CANNOT work to the proposed retirement age. Even 65 is a stretch for these people.
Excellent point about workers that live by performing manual labor.
BUT people who have done physical jobs are the best people to supervise and organize those who do it.
BUT people who have done physical jobs are the best people to supervise and organize those who do it.
My husband installs and/or refinishes hardwood floors. He works long hours (10-12 hours) six, sometimes seven, days a week. Since he is the class work-aholic, I expected to be called to a job site to collect his dead body one day. However, his body is just wearing out; finally, he is beginning to admit that he won't be able to continue much longer. Any attempts to raise the retirement age must take into account workers like him.
I don't believe retirement works out well for most people, because for most of us, work is what gives life meaning.
Suppose somebody came up with cheap automation, so that all the work of producing food, clothing, and shelter got done by robots without any human help. And the government nationalized those industries and made their products free so nobody had to work. What would happen? I don't buy that most people would sit around doing nothing or play games. Some would, but most people would just find new jobs in some other field that hasn't been robotized yet. Maybe the arts and entertainment industries would gain a lot of new talent. Or maybe we'd have millions of new lawyers suing one another on stupid pretexts. But we'd all find something to keep us occupied. (A few, I'm sure, would get into mischief; the devil finds work for idle hands.)
I doubt that "nobody has to work" would be true for very long anyway, since all that "free money" would be used to bid up prices including rent.
When DH turned 65 I begged him to retire. He was adamant that he would not. Finally, one day he said with tears in his eyes: "I cannot quit--it is who I am". I know, and he knows, that he is much more--but his work is his love. As Aristotle once said--deny a man the freedom to do the work he loves and you have committed murder. That's not an exact quote but you get the meaning and intention.
If someone deposited (does math) about 7 million US (assuming I have to pay the taxes on it) I'd "retire" tomorrow.
I'd spend the next 25 to 30 years travelling and take up the art of long distance shooting.
That said I expect to not so much retire, as wind up unable to find a job.
The fix for SS to me is obvious. Raise the eligibility age for SS 1 year for every two or three that passes.
Yeah, this will effectively end SS for anyone under about 30, but they have time to adjust.
Good info on the retirement thing being a recent invention. I must however, take exception with one thing, unless, perhaps, I'm getting the definition wrong: SS as "entitlement". I've been paying in for 47 years, and when I see SS lumped in with other so-called entitlements, I get a little testy. Unlike housing, healthcare and food subsidies, which are distributed to nigh on everyone who asks, my SS "deduction" has been removed from all MY paychecks. It's my money. And, to add insult, I will only be allowed to collect a pre-determined amount of it, if and when I choose to "retire". Some faceless bureauweenie will be making sure I don't "make too much" to collect it! F. T. Noise. -Kv
It's not your money. Just like all other payroll taxes it was distributed immediately. At first it was distributed to current retirees. Then with LBJ's "Great Society" it was also distributed to other recipients such as children whose parents have passed, people with long-term disabilities and others who stopped paying in or never paid in. Also, about the same time they made it legal for Congress to just lump in SS taxes into the general budget. In other words, SS is just like any other tax you've paid all your life but now you propose to be a recipient whether you need it or not and it will come at my expense and the expense my children. The Boomers will bankrupt it, so unlike you I don't have the luxury of pretending the money still belongs to me.
Well, Ken, my take on it is this: I m not "pretending" it is my money. It is, and it was taken from me. As far as your thought on the Boomers bankrupting the whole mess, maybe you should consider the fact that our duly elected "representatives" have, over the years, robbed the supposedly sacrosanct SS fund to redistribute it for their various pet pocket liners. If it is wrong or selfish on my part to expect the fulfillment of a contract I was saddled with, no yea or nay regarded on my part, So. What. The .gov Ponzi(?) scheme is not the fault of the Boomers, other than the fact that they and other generations - yours included - did not raise such a stink that the pols couldn't ignore it. The very few of us who have, have been unable to convince the fargin' iceholes of the error of their ways. Thus, the Silent Majority assures our metaphorical demise.
If it's your money, then so is food stamp/EBT money. Go get it, it belongs to you. Road money belongs to you too. You should go get the county/state road crew to pave your drive way. If it's your money, then you should be able to go to the nearest military reservation and be issued your own M16 or M4.
You admit it's a ponzi scheme, but you're damn sure gonna get yours. Screw succeeding generations. The Boomers are going to bankrupt it because despite being the wealthiest generation in the history of humankind and larger than succeeding generations, you're damn sure gonna get yours. Who's going to pay for it? Why should you care? You're damn sure gonna get yours. Do you need it? What's need gotta do with it if you're damn sure gonna get yours?
Well you're welcome to it I guess. Until the Boomers start dying off in significant numbers, my generation will not get a say in the matter. All you have to do is look at how Congress has been skewing older and older as the Boomers have become older. But it's not your fault at all. You Boomers have no responsibility except to get yours. So milk me and my children in your retirement. Enjoy it because you'll be dead when the ponzi scheme falls apart as they all do.
After acknowledging Ken’s thoughtful comment, I’m with you Kv. If the concern is socialist redistribution or congressional shenanigans, give me my lifetime of SS payments back to reinvest. Or buy that lightly used Panamera I’ve wanted for so long. Or take my future grandkids to amusement parks.
And then there is the F.I.R.E. group, Financially Independent,
Retire Early, mostly through frugal living and picking the right
occupation. I worked til just short of 70 and spent 40yrs in my main occupation. Retirement is going well. I do anticipate SS will be indexed to the retirees prior year AGI within the next 10 yrs, in addition to slow increments in retirement age and the max income to which FICA applies will go up. Medicare is already indexed to AGI. This will happen sooner under progressives but is inevitable at some point.
". . . the second part has somebody claiming that a later retirement age turns mature adults into slaves."
There is no such thing as a free lunch. If that's anyone's fault, its God's because of the way he designed the universe.
Lunch always has to be paid for. Either by you or by someone else. So far these people who keep saying someone else should be paying for their lunch haven't come up with a suitable justification for turning other people into slaves to do so.
This discussion is distorted by the parallel discourses about "finding one's bliss" and "doing what you love" and "work life balance" - all of which assume that our unprecedented abundance, opportunity, freedom, health, and stability will continue.
First my career was a farmer, been doing it since I was 18. When I turned 65 and signed up for Medicare I thought I would retire at 70. That changed this year, I am now having physical problems and this year will be my last. I should have retired at 62 so my wife and I could have traveled and enjoyed our grandchildren. That will not happen now.
The SS retirement age for benefits is only a loose line; you get less if you retire sooner and more if you retire later, up to 70 1/2. The payment is worked out to total the same over the remaining lifetime, so it's a matter of your health and savings and preference for the annuity aspect or the need for immediate funds which is best.
If you wait as long as possible, you get a much larger payment for the rest of your life.
Work as long as you feel like it, then retire without feeling like you should not.
I was happy to walk away at age 65 even though my work, at its best, was so enjoyable I'd have done it for free (engineering). But I only spent about 20% of my time really doing engineering, and in time I grew weary of the endless corporate hoo-ha. I wanted to enjoy some time off with good health.
Fortunately, I have many other interests and I've never missed it a bit. YMMV. Certainly, my barber will work till he drops. But it's all he knows. Myself, I'm still learning new things and enjoy every day.
This is not a completely easy answer:
- For those engaging in manual labor, early retirement may have to continue - their bodies may not handle the work anymore.
- For those engaging in stressful occupations, ditto the above.
- For those who love their work, feel free to continue.
I think early retirement should be available, for those with poor health. But the average person should plan on working until 70 or so.
I retired at 66. It was the best decision I ever made, and one that has revitalized my life. I do work part-time, but don't anticipate returning to full-time teaching - it's a tough job for older folks. I just started reaching the point that I could see the job no longer being fun and rewarding, and wanted to go out on top.
Not everyone can afford that option.
I'm 67. I'm an estimator for a concrete contractor. I've been doing it 10 years now, and intend to work until I die, reach 75, or feel like I'm not contributing anymore.
I work in small business by the way. Best job I've ever had.
I retired at 72. For the last 5 years -- due to university management nonsense -- the satisfaction dropped and and the frustration rose, and I finally hit the crossover point.
But I was probably 4 years late. My body is breaking down and much of the hobby stuff and travel I had been planning are not going to be possible. Had I retired earlier, retirement would have been a lot more enjoyable.
Without going into too much detail, most vacation time was consumed by family obligations.