"The New Retirementality" by Mitch Anthony
(Hey, Dory, maybe we should put book discussions in their own "Book Report" forum.)
Great first half, so-so second. *It's an interesting library read but I won't buy it at a dollar-book sale. *It's his fault for starting off with life planning and then beating the financials to death. *However it's worth familiarizing yourself with this book for those conversations about retirements.
Anthony has good analysis to support his belief that you should be encouraged to work if you want to. *He makes workaholics feel good about themselves.
He also presents great research on retirement's evolution. *When Bismarck created Social Security in the late 1800s, the average life expectancy was 46 but eligibility was set at 70 to market it as the Bible's "threescore and ten". *After a few years of complaints it was dialed back to 65 so that more people could actually live long enough to qualify. *Imagine if today's SS was 19 years beyond the average lifespan-- Hawaii's 85-year statistic would make me eligible to collect at 104.
That logic wasn't applied during the American Depression. *In 1935 the average life expectancy was 63, but SS eligibility initially began at 65 instead of 82. *(Later it moved to 62.) *SS did a fine job of pushing older workers out of the workforce, which was considered a good idea for the Depression but also marked the beginning of coercive retirements. *And if we indexed Depression numbers to current SS eligibility, we wouldn't be collecting SS until we were in our 80s.
In the 1940s & 50s the financial industry smelled commissions and started marketing retirement as an entitlement, not just an option. *By paying for financial products & advice, workers would reap their rightful reward for all those years of labor & loyalty.
Although he's shown how the system is rigged, Anthony's poster-child retirees desperately need to get a life. *Admittedly he data-mines their stories like crazy, but I've seldom heard such whining from those who couldn't entertain themselves outside of a cubicle. *And he claims that the data show many retirees want to work for fulfillment when the real story may be that they undercapitalized their lifestyles and didn't realize it until it was too late. *
Having acknowledged the temptation to lie about their financial prospects, here's the results of a 1998 Gallup poll of 986 retirees who returned to work:
- 85% expected to work to some degree.
-- 15% of the 986 wanted to work at their avocation until they died.
-- 60% wanted to start their own businesses (with a safe retirement income).
-- 10% wanted to continue working part-time for a better work-life balance.
- 15% wanted a traditional retirement. *Anthony describes this group with words like "had enough of work", "hated their jobs", "stress", "hardship", "lazy", and "dodging work". *(Hey, that's me!) *Anthony unfortunately doesn't delve into why these people eventually returned to work but maybe I'm misinterpreting the way he describes their "nonretiremnt".
The back half of the book is a long sermon on knowing thyself, raising your "Money Quotient" above your IQ, and reaching financial fulfillment. *Maybe he's been watching too much Suze Orman.
So, age is a state of mind. *Work if you want to. *Do what makes you happy. *Become financially independent so that you can earn a "playcheck" and enjoy your time by your standards. *
But read Bernstein's "Four Pillars" & Zelinski's "Retire Happy, Wild, & Free" before you read this one!
The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
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