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A Different View of Early Retirement
Old 10-02-2007, 10:33 AM   #1
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A Different View of Early Retirement

Here is a thoughtful essay on the effects of increased life spans, the need to fund social security and medicare programs, productivity, and early retirement on our economy. The author proposes that early retirement should be discouraged because it is detrimental to our society and speculates on how such a postponement might affect existing business practices. Many people on this forum may disagree with the author's views, but it is an interesting read.

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Old 10-02-2007, 11:03 AM   #2
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What a laughable article.

I'd like to think we are in a golden age in our society today (for the most part).

Do we want to have the annals of history record our society as one that required 50 years of hard work of every able-bodied citizen, or as a society that was so bountiful and efficient that it allows common folks to enjoy decades of freedom from the toils of labor to recreate and pursue their interests as they see fit?
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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If Social Security and Medicare are to be funded, we need an economic, social and tax system that discourages early retirement.
I thought we already did....no universal health care and a society that encourages consumption seems to be enough hurdle for most....
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:58 AM   #4
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So what is the new definition of "early" retirement? 70, 75? Maybe I'll retire very "early" yet!
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:04 PM   #5
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Interesting article.... and it boils down to a simple question. Do we live for ourselves, or do we live to benefit others. Lots of folks like to talk about the "social contract". The idea that each of us "owes" everyone in life that was not as successful as we are. And then those people "owe" everyone under them. But what effect does this have? It sort of reminds me of a giant "Ponzi scheme". For those who have not heard of this one before. Ponzi was a very famous con man that told people he could double or triple their earnings with his investments. People jumped at the chance. But rather than invest the money at all, he took five or six people's investments and gave them all to one other person, and repeated this process over time. It "seems" to work great for a while. Then you realize that you need more and more people to put into it for it to work, until finally when there are no more "rich" people to take money from the whole thing falls apart. Everyone wants "something for nothing". And as long as the people who have "nothing" continue to get "something" by just demanding it, the cycle will continue. The politicians have tapped into this to get peoples votes. I believe the next election will turn into a "money for votes" proposition, which I think it horrible in every way. Why do typically Dems want us to work longer than ever before? Because the longer we work, the longer they can keep the "Ponzi scam" going. Just my thoughts...
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:32 PM   #6
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Here is a thoughtful essay on the effects of increased life spans, the need to fund social security and medicare programs, productivity, and early retirement on our economy.
The Fifty Year Career
It is interesting. I congratulate you on your courage in posting that here. The last time anyone said anything along these lines he got his a$$ kicked and folks around here stole his lunch money.

His name was Ted.

I think there will be many surprises ahead, and 29 year old ERs will be around for most of them. Buena suerte a todos!

Ha
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:02 PM   #7
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Armor99:

well that's a pretty cynical view.

If you look at SS in isolation then you might say, as you have, that it is unsustainable. You might point out that the so called "trust fund" has been spent and that the system is doomed. However congress has the capacity to increase funding at it's whim. Get ready for increased taxes and federal debt as well as reduced benefits.

My view is that SS will be around for decades and decades to come, however benefits will be less and will be even more skewed to the lower income groups. Social Security will trend more and more away from the insurance/pension model and become more of the welfare model.

That's just the way it is going to be. You will be increasingly on your own.
I see that as potentially happening as well. Everyone will be required to pay for Social Security, but Congress will gradually reduce the amount of benefits high earners can receive based on the assumption that they are in a better position to save for their own retirement. More scary, Congress will make such a determination based upon total wealth rather than income.

Although this will sound somewhat naive, if I've paid into Social Security, then I expect to get Social Security. Otherwise, it's just another tax.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:07 PM   #8
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So we should all keep working and paying this particular tax because, um, the author thinks we should do so? Simple solution: make all income (not just wages) subject to SS/Medicare taxes, Either that or start chopping benefits. I favor the latter but could possibly be convinced to support either.

Lets not mix discussions of how to fund gubmint programs with labor force participation issues. Both are too complex just on their own.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:11 PM   #9
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So we should all keep working and paying this particular tax because, um, the author thinks we should do so?
I subtler point is that people don't consume money, they consume goods and services. And when Asia is finally able to pull the plug in its profligate neighbor to the west, we may find that we are short of goods and services. Even pretty basic ones.


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Old 10-02-2007, 01:26 PM   #10
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I subtler point is that people don't consume money, they consume goods and services. And when Asia is finally able to pull the plug in its profligate neighbor to the west, we may find that we are short of goods and services. Even pretty basic ones.


Ha
Sure, no argument that we consume goods and services. And the vast majority of Merkins will work for a lot longer than 20 or 30 years, since they consume so many goods and save very little. But help me out here: has the economy not become vastly more efficient in the production of goods and services in the past 20 years? Yet labor participation rates are down only a little. So what has been done with all of the extra productive capacity? It has been used to boost consumption/standard of living.

I in no way believe that anything more than what has happened in the past (increased consumption) will change in the future, but hypothetically it is certainly reasonable to believe that we as a nation could trade off flat or slightly reduced consumption for lower labor force participation rates. After all, this is exactly what most prospective ERs intend to do on a personal level.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
So we should all keep working and paying this particular tax because, um, the author thinks we should do so? Simple solution: make all income (not just wages) subject to SS/Medicare taxes, Either that or start chopping benefits. I favor the latter but could possibly be convinced to support either.
You will see the first before the second IMHO, because it is easier for politicians trying to get elected to screw the working folks instead of the PR fiasco of slashing SS benies...........
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:47 PM   #12
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You will see the first before the second IMHO, because it is easier for politicians trying to get elected to screw the working folks instead of the PR fiasco of slashing SS benies...........
Maybe. Or maybe the monkey's in charge of the spacecraft will selectively chop benefits, lengthening the time til benefots for the yungins and reducing or eliminating payouts for the "rich." I think these patent medicine remedies would probably fly just as well.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:48 PM   #13
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Although this will sound somewhat naive, if I've paid into Social Security, then I expect to get Social Security. Otherwise, it's just another tax.
Yeah, that is my belief, though....it is just another excess tax...and another reason to FIRE....might be #3-4 on my list...
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:57 PM   #14
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When I think of early retirement, I focus on my net worth, retirement health benefits, how I'm tired of the daily grind and how much I would rather be hiking to the top of a mountain. Although I'm intellectually aware of the problems with the social security and medicare entitlement programs, I always figure I'll get by with my excellant health and genes, high net worth and charmed existance. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, but society as a whole will be affected and there will be adjustments. The article made me begin to look at these problems from a societal perspective rather than from my own individual needs.

Thank you, Ha Ha
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:04 PM   #15
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If Social Security and Medicare are to be funded, we need an economic, social and tax system that discourages early retirement. At the top end of the ability scale, we need 50 years’ production out of our best and brightest, not 20.
I don't think the author cares what the rest of society does as long as they don't drag down his Social Security & Medicare. Maybe he should turn the problem around and consider whether SS & Medicare even need to be, let alone should be, funded in the first place.

Personally I object to the assumption that productivity can only be attained by working for a paycheck or owning a business. Mother Theresa, for starters, would've found that to be pretty amusing.

Ted struck me as the kind of guy who'd be happy to find a job for you so that you wouldn't waste all his your time lying around waiting for the devil to make work for your idle hands. Plus he had all the tact of a sandblaster.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:49 PM   #16
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I don't think the author cares what the rest of society does as long as they don't drag down his Social Security & Medicare. Maybe he should turn the problem around and consider whether SS & Medicare even need to be, let alone should be, funded in the first place.
I am not eager to pay extra taxes, but I plump for SS every time without complaint. Why? Simply because it keeps such a huge number of elderly people out of the most dire reaches of poverty. I will pay up without complaint every time as long as SS keeps oldsters from dying on the street from lack of money. It is also thereason I have no problem with means-testing: I care about salving the needs of the elderly poor, not of topping up the greens fees and luxury cruise fund of the well off retirees.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:58 PM   #17
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What do you think the greens fees would be on this cruise ?

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Old 10-02-2007, 08:13 PM   #18
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Although this will sound somewhat naive, if I've paid into Social Security, then I expect to get Social Security. Otherwise, it's just another tax.
I'm sorry to have to break this to you . . .
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:45 AM   #19
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To be honest.... I have always disliked the very notion of Social Security. I do understand that years ago there were no 401k's, pensions were sometimes taken away (and still are), etc. But the idea that the govt must FORCE me to pay into a system that I want no benefit from, just because I MIGHT not be responsible enought to save for myself, I find repulsive. I am over 18 years of age, and an adult with all of the rights and pitfalls that come with that. Today there ARE 401k's and a "horn of plenty" of other investment options. Everyone knows, including myself, that I will one day be old, and not be able to work to earn any more money. With this knowledge I understand that if I do not save enought for my senior years, I could be in serious trouble. My understanding of this FACT is why I am currently saving at the levels that I am, and investing the way that I am. Why Because I want to live... I think that banking my future on luck or other people's generocity is shamefull. It is also a willfull denial of the reality that I already know. The inescapable fact that one day I will not be able to earn any more money. Covering your ears and eyes does not make the facts go away, no matter how hard you try.
Not everyone feels the same way that I do, and the wonderful thing about this country is that they are free to believe whatever they want. But at the same time, people have to live (and sometimes die) because of the decisions (good or bad) that they make. I think that helmet laws should not exist. If someone is foolish enough (in my opinion) to get on a motorcycle with no protection whatsoever then they should be free to do so. If someone wants to smoke cigarrettes while knowing the negative health consequences, they should have the freedom to do so as well. And if someone... anyone, chooses to not save any money while they were able to work, and want to risk their future on chance occurances, and the charity of others, then no one should try to stop them either.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:46 AM   #20
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I am not eager to pay extra taxes, but I plump for SS every time without complaint. Why? Simply because it keeps such a huge number of elderly people out of the most dire reaches of poverty. I will pay up without complaint every time as long as SS keeps oldsters from dying on the street from lack of money. It is also thereason I have no problem with means-testing: I care about salving the needs of the elderly poor, not of topping up the greens fees and luxury cruise fund of the well off retirees.

I see it the same way Brewer.

It has been my expectation for at least the last 20 years that I will never, ever see a penny of the money I have paid into the system. Accordingly, when I run Firecalc, I assume zero for SS. I plan to have sufficient means so that if my expectation has been right all these years, I will be unaffected. If I ever do see anything, it will just be extra drinkin' money.
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