Margaret Wente on Retirement
Did anyone else read Margaret Wente column in Tuesday's G&M titled "Andy Rooney Had the Right Idea"? The gist of it goes something like this
" retirement is a bad idea because you won't have enough to do or the money to do it with- so forget retirement and work till you drop".
I have been retireed for 5 years and love it. Couldn't dissagree more with her conclusion. I believe most of the talk about wanting to work past a normal retirement age is caused by the lack of planning and the financial resources needed for such retirement. I think a lot of people are too proud to admit they don't have enough money to retire so come up with other reasons for extending their working lives? Obviously, there would be exceptions and probably being a writer like Wente (and Rooney) would lend itself to a longer working career.
What do you guys think? If you have enough money wouldn't most people like to retire early?
Definitely. The whole push to end mandatory retirement age is coming from the gov't and not because anyone else is asking for it. Retired people take money from gov't coffers while at the same time not paying anything in. The gov't doesn't like that and so by eliminating mandatory age they at least can't be told "but you said I had to retire by x". They can essentially put the funding shortfall on our shoulders rather than theirs.
Personally speaking, retirement can't come soon enough for me. I have NO desire to prolong this any more than I have to. I think most people feel the same way but the gov't is fighting us on that. The article you mention benefits the gov't POV.
Being retired after 40 years of working seems to agree with me and I would not want it any other way.
I do just what I want nothing more nothing less.
I'm another one who absolutely loves being retired. I enjoyed my office manager job with the federal government very much, but I remarried in 2005 and, as my husband was retired, I decided I would quit work too at age 62. It was the best decision I could have made. I can't believe that for all those years I used to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for work!
Originally Posted by Square Root
I guess this colours her perception of the world. She must have a limited circle of acquaintances. Maybe just other writers? I think Rooney found a calling that he truly loved. CBS tried to fire him and the listeners demanded his return. How is that for reinforcement? What about Warren Buffet or our Jimmy Pattison?
Originally Posted by Wente
SquareRoot, I can't help but think of the old idiom 'money can't buy happiness, but it sure helps!'
I agree that many boomers are delaying retirement because they can't look forward to the defined benefit pensions their parents had, yet they didn't bother to save much while the economy was on a roll. They kept their asset allocation too aggressive, and are now finding their planning retirement date receding into the distant future as their portfolios don't rise by 10% a year as scheduled. So when forced to pick between a reduced lifestyle over the rest of their life or more time spent working, they are opting for the latter.
Yes. I agree. They then go on to say they really like working(doubtful) and would be bored in retirement. It has been my experience that a well funded retirement is anything but boring.
Originally Posted by andrewf
I have been reading a lot of stuff on retirement in the U.S. lately. One of the things that I've found interesting is a report on how the image of retirement has really shifted in the U.S.
In the past few decades, retirement has been portrayed as "total leisure" - walking on the beach, sailing, golfing. But those images of retirement no longer resonate for the people who are the targets of retirement income messaging, for a couple of reasons:
- underaccumulators (as AndrewF describes) feel resentful that the implied promise of total leisure won't be fulfilled for them, so those images just piss them off.
- classic accumulators have never been interested in total leisure, so those images do not resonate for them or cause them to actually "save for retirement" - because retirement defined as total leisure wasn't something they were ever going to do anyways.
For the classic mid-career accumulator (actually called MCAs in retirement-planning lingo), retirement has become a way to shift your interests and scale down work. So retirement doesn't equal "walks on the beach," but it does equal "volunteering for causes I support" and "reducing the number of hours I work."
Obviously on this forum we have people who span the spectrum of retirement planning personas - from people who hope to retire very early (40's, early 50's) to people who say "I can't imagine pulling back entirely; that doesn't appeal to me - I'm going to be working for pay well into my 70's" [I'm in that category].
And we have people who want the "total leisure" retirement, and people who would be happy and satisfied with something different.
Not sure where I'm going with this, except to say there is no static "retirement" phase or stage of life that people are either ready for or not. Retirement means very different things to different people, depending on their preferences and personalities.
I think Wente's piece was somewhat inflammatory because she used easy stereotypes rather than grappling with retirement as a more subtle and shifting concept.