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.
The right to a leisurely retirement has been imprinted on at least five generations of Americans, which is why so few consider whether it is practical or even desirable to guarantee that everyone should meander through the last twenty years of life. Degradation intensifies when mental activity abates, and mental activity abates when there is nothing to strive toward and there are no problems to solve. Work for compensation is desirable because work for compensation is an expression of value creation, and value creation instills a sense of self worth. Work keeps the mind and body alive.
Work or play are personal choices; neither choice should be subsidized or deterred, nor should the choice be relegated to a disinterested third party. Whenever the individual abrogates responsibility, he surrenders his independence to another people's intentions, and another people's intentions are always driven by what is best for the other person.
Read the whole thing.
I need to re-post my old piece about retirement. My theory is that retirement is terrible for people and for society unless people find new ways to be constructive and to participate in real life. Mountains of wisdom and experience are tossed away when people in their 60s, at the prime level of mature adult functioning, go out to pasture like lame horses.
Sometimes it is forced, and that is a shame.
As I have said before, I believe that the key to financial peace of mind is to be able to quit working and still pay the bills. That's a tall order. Or, ideally, to work on one's own terms. That tends to help people enjoy working even more. My family is like Bird Dog's - the old-time Yankee ethic is that men are supposed to work 'til they drop. I guess we never got the newfangled memo from FDR, telling us to quit working and to go sit down somewhere to await the Grim Reaper. (Of course, he died in the saddle himself at a youthful 63.) We forget how new, and relatively untested, a societal idea this retirement is. Carpe diem, etc.
Oh well, to each his own. Some folks live for their retirements, and blossom in it. Sailing around the world (avoiding the Somalia coast), and volunteering at interesting or worthwhile sociable work. Many retreat into purposelessness and hedonism, and become old before their time. Some become the wonderful greeters at WalMart and the Meals on Wheels guys and gals, and some start up new enterprises like our own Capt. Tom.
That's freedom, but I do resent working to pay the pensions and green fees of fully competent people who are younger than I am. Makes no sense to me.
I "retired" when I was 48 years old and have never looked back on that decision. I kept busy for a few years consulting, then cranked up the charter business, sold that, volunteer with literacy program, involved in...
Well, let's put it this way - I'm busier than I was when I was working 60 hours a week and ruining my health.
When I tell people I will never retire - they just look at me gape mouthed like I was from another planet.
I don't understand the desire for early retirement. I can't think of anything worse than getting up and not having my mind working. As far as I can tell - most people who retire are just waiting around to die with their minds turning to mush.
If I had to hunt, fish, golf, or whatever, every day to keep busy I would shoot myself. They are fun because, for me, they are a break from working and a treat. If done to mindlessly fill time, they would be drudgery.
Not to say that at somepoint I wouldn't like to take some more time to travel - or undertake serious charitable work - but retire - never.
I will say that I come by it honestly. I work with my 81 yo father and my 82 yo uncle. They work all day - everyday. Not because they have to but because they want to.
My grandfather was forced into retirement at age 72, then the corporation hired him back as a consultant four months later as they couldn't find anyone with his expertise in certain areas. He worked one-third the hours, but was paid the same with annual increases. (He thought that was amusing). I think he was still employed at 86, but maybe it was 88. He lived until 98, still quite mobile and astute considering all the physical hardships he'd endured early in life. He loved what he did.
So, he is my hero and I'll try to follow his example. As the former posters have noted, follow your passion and retirement takes care of itself.
I own my own business, and need to sell it and retire because it just doesn't seem fair to the people who work here to have an elderly boss who might drop dead at any moment (it's not the kind of thing my children could run). It makes me sad, but it's only practical, and I plan to devote myself to God in some way for the last years of my life.
Since the development of the Internet, folks like my husband and myself can freelance, make an arrangement with a periodical for an article, write it and get it accepted, and our customers never have to see how old we are. It feels like some sort of con game to us, sometimes, because if the customer ever saw us in person, he or she would figure we were too old still to have a functioning brain, and not hire us.
There are a certain number of folks we hire to do one thing or another for us, like the company who keeps our lawn in order, who are convinced we are feeble minded and keep double billing us. When they do this, I have to write them a letter and point out the check number with which I had paid their bill and the date it cleared back to our bank. This calms them down for a month or two, but then they start the game up again. It was amusing for awhile, but it's getting to be a bore, and we are probably going to try to find a landscape company which won't play such games with us.
Younger folks seem to have a lot of false expectations of old folks in our society.
Retirement is an assumption one lives long enough to possibly enjoy it. Seen many people die before they retire, and those who make it, have severe health issues preventing them from enjoying it and draining them out of their savings.
Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas
I work for a medical testing company. Many of our route drivers are "retirees". They are done with the rat race or whatever, but still keep busy and collect a check.
My parents’ next door neighbor was forced into early retirement by his company. He immediately set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail - then went to work (mostly unpaid) for the AMC.