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A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 08:40 AM   #1
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A New Vision of Retirement

I picked up this link from Ogrecat at the Motley Fool board. It is a link to a Washington Post Outlook piece examining how and why the conventional view of "retirement" as a time of rest was marketed to middle-class America and how and why a new vision of retirement as a second active stage of life (with more freedom) is gaining ground today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2005Feb5.html

Juicy Quote #1: "An entire industry would grow around the dream of retirement as leisure -- as the "golden years," a phrase coined by Webb and his company."

Juicy Quote #2: "As men and women began to live extended, healthier lives, and as the period between the end of work and the end of life grew steadily longer, the question of the purpose of this period in life grew more and more urgent and wrenching....the word retirement comes from the old French retirer, meaning "to go off into seclusion."

Juicy Quote #3: "In 1950, half the men over 65 remained in the workforce. By 2000 the number was less than 18 percent. ....Soon the goal of retirement was replaced by a new dream: early retirement."

Juicy Quote #4: "The gift of longevity is behind the new shift in the way people think about retirement. In 1900 the average American lived to the not-so-ripe age of 47. Today that number is 77, and rising. And that's long enough for retirees to get bored. How much golf can you play? "

Juicy Quote #5: "This new generation of aging boomers seems poised to swap that old dream of the freedom from work for a new one built around the freedom to work -- in new ways, on new terms, to new ends."
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 10:49 AM   #2
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I had a neighbor (since passed away) who retired at about age 65, hunted and fished for 5 years, went back to work part time because ' you can only hunt and fish so much full time'. I think it was a good way for him to get out and see people.

I personally plan on RL (retire late) into a part time job.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 12:58 PM   #3
 
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I had a very long lunch today (just one of the many
benefits of ER) with an old friend (former attorney).
We covered a multitude of issues. As far as retiring,
he has more money than he could ever spend. Truly.
But, he still works although he SAYS he wants to cut back. Of course, he is the top guy in his office so he can come and go as he wishes. Another good friend
(also a former attorney) is in the same situation. Both
of these guys are in their 60s and still enjoy what they do. Personally, I do not agree that you "can only fish and
hunt so much". Between fishing and hunting and
living the "biker" life, I could keep myself pretty well
occupied with "adventures" until my demise. Anyway,
I have no problem with folks who work PT, or even go back to work after retiring. Not for me though.
For example, after we were about 2 hours into lunch
today, I said "I should let you get back to work!" My friend
said, "Why? I'm having fun!". I had no place that I had to be either, so we continued on. ER, you gotta love it!

JG
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 01:33 PM   #4
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I think it was a good way for him to get out and see people.

My father retired from a government job at a not terribly early age but a good bit before turning 65. Then he took a job delivering racetrack programs to different tracks.

He didn't get paid nearly as much in the new job. But he met lots of people and he had experiences that he always talked about. The good part of it for him is that there was no stress. For him, the bad part of the more serious job was the stress. With that gone, he didn't at all mind having somewhere to report to each morning.

He stayed there long enough to get a small pension from it. He picked up some tips on horses to bet on too.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Quote:
I think it was a good way for him to get out and see people.

My father retired from a government job at a not terribly early age but a good bit before turning 65. Then he took a job delivering racetrack programs to different tracks.

He didn't get paid nearly as much in the new job. But he met lots of people and he had experiences that he always talked about. The good part of it for him is that there was no stress. For him, the bad part of the more serious job was the stress. With that gone, he didn't at all mind having somewhere to report to each morning.

He stayed there long enough to get a small pension from it. He picked up some tips on horses to bet on too.
Sounds like the good life to me.......I'm stressed out
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 02:18 PM   #6
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Here's another view of retirement. Not a positive one, at all.

http://www.mises.org/freemarket_deta...er=articledate

Titled: I'll Never Retire by william Diehl

An excerpt:
QUOTE
As we observe able-bodied citizens hiking the malls or sampling the midnight buffets on the cruise ships, we are struck by their purposelessness, and the overwhelming boredom they manifest. There is no need to arise in the morning, or any necessity to go to bed on time. Their reason for existence has ceased. They have lost the respect of those who support them, and lost their self-respect in the process.

A story is told of one who had led a long and eventful life. When the time came to cross the deep lake, he was pleased with the skiff and the oarsman as well as his welcome and the accommodations furnished him. The surroundings were beautiful, the weather pleasant, and the food more than adequate. After a few weeks, he wanted to try his hand at gardening again, but that could not be arranged. After repeated requests to work in the dining hall or on the grounds, he cried in exasperation, "This is no better than Hell." The reply came from above, "Where did you think you were?"

Irving Babbitt reflected on the nature of work, how it was seen in the past as a God-given calling, and indeed served to define a person. With the loss of vocation has come a loss of identification.

UNQUOTE
Retiring from corporate life might be a blessing. Retiring from ANY job might be discouraging. Planning before you leap is necessary.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Although I'm still a bit of a newbie, it has long seemed to me that this board is about having options, not just about quitting.

DH and I are about 5 years out from the possibility of ER. He does enjoy his job (software engineer) and I mostly enjoy mine (paralegal), so whether we will quit, phase to part-time, or keep building a nest egg is up for grabs.

That said, even if I did stop working at this job, there are other things that I want to do that will give me the sense of purpose mentioned in Eagle43's post. Write a novel, say, or volunteer on an archaeological dig. Neither of those might be to someone else's taste (or might be too much like work for some), but I'm looking forward to trying them out.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Early retirement is not "retirement" in the strict sense of the word. Rather, it's simply a choice based on financial independence. What retiring early represents is financial freedom to explore what life has to offer. Yet the ability to retire early requires sacrifice, which is an exercise in restraint very few people are willing to undertake in today's consumption-oriented economy.

A person can retire early and yet still work. At that point the work is by choice, not by necessity. Perhaps early retirement can be compared to Stephen Covey's life paradigm trinity -- dependence, independence and interdependence. A person just entering the workforce is dependent on his employer for a paycheck. Many people never make it out of the dependency stage. They're comfortable spending up to (or beyond) their means, and unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to wean themselves off their dependency. A middle-aged person can be independent, that is, he can have sufficient assets saved that he is no longer dependent on a certain type of employment (or level of income) and can choose what he wants to do in terms of working. The independent person who successfully chooses to do what makes him happy reaches a stage of interdependence with those around him, be they co-workers, family, friends or complete strangers. The interdependent person recognizes that although he could do nothing, he chooses to do something that makes him happy and contributes to the good of society in some way, no matter how insignificant.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 03:43 PM   #9
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Quote:
Here's another view of retirement. *Not a positive one, at all.

http://www.mises.org/freemarket_deta...er=articledate
Another quote from this article:

"With Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions, the government has created a large new class of dependents who see no necessity to save or to accept responsibility for themselves, their offspring, or their parents."

And then he proposes a solution:

"It may mean giving up benefits and accepting a lower wage, or no wage at all. But a reason for living, and a retention of identity, are surely sufficient remuneration."

The message is clear: The evil government has corrupted the masses with Social Security, Medicare, and the pensions it pays to its retired employees. We should suck it up and be men! We should repudiate our Social Security benefits and our pensions, and salvage our self-respect. We should all go out and work for low wages. And if we can't get a low paying job, we should work for free. Just knowing we're contributing to someone else's wealth should be sufficient reward.

Pure drivel.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 04:00 PM   #10
 
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I could write an essay on this one too

Re. "a sense of self worth that comes from working",
I submit that you can also get that sense from figuring
out how to ER and then doing it, followed by doing
whatever you want for the rest of your life. Anyway,
if you like to work then work. I like to loaf and fish.

JG
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 04:13 PM   #11
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Quote:
The message is clear: The evil government has corrupted the masses with Social Security, Medicare, and the pensions it pays to its retired employees. We should suck it up and be men! We should repudiate our Social Security benefits and our pensions, and salvage our self-respect.
That sounds very objectivist to me. I think any true follower of Rand would do just that.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 04:39 PM   #12
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I hear you loud and clear Bob_Smith.

I think I work hard enough carrying a shovel around all day to dig out from under the bullshit that the hounding classes love to try to pile on my head. All this crap we are reading about the glory of work comes from some jerk whose idea of work is sitting in an office writiing polemics about how "we" should love working for the sheer joy and self-improvement of it. This paragon no doubt spends the rest of his time sexually harrassing every female in his line of command.

Anyway, I don't really consider myself retired, because in my whole life once I graduated from university I only worked in a W-2 job for 4 years. Two of those years were military service. So it was seamless for me to transfer from running crappy little businesses and doing 1099 freelance work to running a portfolio. I have made far more money after "retiring" than I ever did before. My job is still the same-- make money, try to control risk, and live cheaply.

If someone offered to annuitize my capital at a high COLA rate, I don't know if I would do it-- because it is my mountain climbing, wife swapping and horse betting all rolled into one. I am a control freak and I don't feel like I have to apologize for it one bit. It worked!

So I think I will sit back, have another glass of Cabernet, and reflect on that excellent football game we had yesterday( I saw my first HD game!)

Mikey
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Quote:
Here's another view of retirement. *Not a positive one, at all.

http://www.mises.org/freemarket_deta...er=articledate

Titled: *I'll Never Retire by william Diehl

. . .
A lot of engineers I've worked with over the years seemed to think this way. Many of them were interesting, good people who I admired for their work ethic and focus. It is fine with me if they want to define themselves by the job they hold and want to measure their own self-worth based on their salary or position at work. But, to me, that is not a very satisfying definition or a useful metric.

I don't see anything wrong with loving your work or in taking pride in your job success, but I don't see anything wrong with choosing an alternative. Working for a living is not a higher calling than building a life of other choices.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-07-2005, 07:54 PM   #14
 
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Quote:
All this crap we are reading about the glory of work comes from some jerk whose idea of work is sitting in an office writiing polemics about how "we" should love working for the sheer joy and self-improvement of it.
I wouldn't mind working for the joy of it, assuming what I would be doing brought me joy. It's working because I don't have enough money not to that I mind. Working simply to live and pay bills is what I mind.

Of course I wouldn't expect the kind of people telling US to work, people who will never know work, risk, or responsibility, to know about such things.
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-08-2005, 03:35 AM   #15
 
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

I think Hyperborea and I have been over this ground before, however.........................

That quote was very "Randian" for sure and it's good in theory. Although I am a true believer (Objectivism)
I intend to take all of the government largesse
available to me and never look back. I see no contradiction
here. I am merely playing the hand I was dealt.

JG
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Both articles-- absolutely pathetic.
Old 02-08-2005, 07:27 AM   #16
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Both articles-- absolutely pathetic.

First, I have a hard time reading articles that criticize retirement when they're written by journalists who are still working. I suspect deadlines compromise objective reporting, and I also suspect that the working journalists don't know what the heck they're talking about. They can always find someone willing to complain but they misinterpret or data mine the sound-bite nuggets without benefit of personal experience. For example, is that guy going back to work because he claims he's bored, or is it really because he's lost the purchasing power of his bond portfolio during 10 years of unforeseen low interest rates? A journalist who's had to live off a retirement portfolio will ask the correct questions to reveal the facts. I favor Bud Hebeler's writing, and Scott Burns is almost there.

Second, retirement studies published by groups have zero credibility. TH probably envied them as the "gold standard" of pushing an agenda. How can a real journalist get away with an unsupported reference to "a 1950s poll"? I'd go with studies from credible analysts like Fama/French, or from experienced retirees like Bogle or Hebeler... but not Fidelity or AARP or "Civic Ventures".

Third, Diehl has a vocabulary problem when "volunteering" becomes "employed on a non-compensated basis". It makes me wonder what else he's not saying. He sets up the strawman of a bored golfer and concludes that all retirees are in the same "slough of despondency" (sorry, Jarhead). I've hiked a mall & sampled a midnight buffet but I didn't feel "purposeless" or "overwhelmingly bored"-- rather I enjoyed the company of good friends in unusual settings. (I shop in Home Depot & Goodwill, not malls.) Diehl doesn't discuss "avocation" or "passion" or "entrepreneurialism" but rather cheerful concepts like "diligence", "strenuousness", and "daily attendance". It sounds like his highest aspiration is working for The Man. To that I must respond "Get a life!"

In these types of articles, work appears to be for those who can't handle the burden of being responsible for their own entertainment. If you're a bored retiree, then you're not "marginalized" or "cut off" or "roleless" or "too old to work"-- you're victimizing yourself! (An earlier generation would call it "whining", but it's self-inflicted regardless of the pejorative.) Real retirees are too busy pursuing their own interests to waste their time talking to working journalists (under deadlines). If you've played too much golf or if your spouse can't stand your presence then your "issues" won't be resolved by returning to employment-- you're just avoiding the root causes of the problem.

Finally, I resent the characterization of "greedy geezer". I worked my a$$ets off to get here, I earned everything I have, and I'm going to keep a high-caliber eye on every benefit that wanders by because I know how to use a bargain. If the govt is stupid enough to give me a Social Security check, then I'm happy to reclaim some of my confiscated property. Diehl's not supporting me and I don't seek his respect-- I have plenty of my own.

I think both of these authors need surfing lessons. It probably couldn't hurt those Boomers who have trouble finding fulfillment outside of the office, either.

Anyone read Freedman's book? I agree that the aging Boomers will fix every geriatric problem, even if by just refusing to acknowledge its physical limitations, but I don't think that we're working because we need to be fulfilled. I think working Boomers are doing it because: (1) they don't have enough assets to be retired Boomers and/or (2) they don't know how to be responsible for their own lives. If work can provide fulfillment, I'd think it would be more by "starting a business" than "getting a job".

BTW, is this William Diehl the author of "Sharkey's Machine" or the religious writer or someone else? His article is eight years old. That would make him at least 87 now-- anyone know if he's published a followup? Hopefully it's not in an obituary...


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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-08-2005, 07:39 AM   #17
 
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Speaking of obituaries.....................

I'm thinking of writing my own. Who knows the topic better? Besides, if I don't, mine would likely read
"We're glad the S.O.B. is gone!"

JG
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement
Old 02-08-2005, 08:29 AM   #18
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Re: A New Vision of Retirement

Come on John, it's time for a limerick.
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