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Old 06-01-2009, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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I find the concept of retirement fundamentally odd. Why exactly would someone want to "retire" at some specified age? The way people look forward to and plan for retirement seems to indicate that the mass of people are not really happy with their lives. If they were, why would there be a desire to retire from it?

Personally, I don't save much for retirement. I have no plans to retire. What little I do save is for the fact that at some point I may not be able to physically do much. But that only requires a few years of living costs.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I think of it as more not having to worry about the basics of life, debts have been paid, kids are off, and scrambling is done (I certainly save 15%+ for that). Not that I would ever stop doing something towards a goal...I can make it 2 weeks before I need some direction to work at or I start to go stir crazy.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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I know virtually no one that works until they are no longer able regardless of how happy they are with their life.

Fewer and fewer people have any real control of retiring on their terms -- companies of all sizes and prominence vanish in the most unexpected way having devastating effects on employees.

Shifts in the economy make even the most successful / resilient entrepreneurs have little certainty in their income.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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You touch on two particulars subjects. Vocational contentment and ability to labor. As to vocational contentment, you are correct. The majority of people cannot statistically attaint their desired living standard pursuing their passion. Most find their compensation expectations a suitable opportunity cost against the fact that they cannot make a living pursuing their passion in life. But this seemingly mutually exclusive dynamic is the source of silent disatisfaction for millions of workers. There's no way around it. Life isn't fair. Not everybody can be a statistical outlier and make a living at what they love. Supply and demand doesn't care about what drives your soul. Globalization for that matter doesn't either, thence the callousness of that mantra.

As to the second issue, that one is easier to dissect. It would be foolish to believe one could labor forever. There will come a point where it may not be possible to do so, or even economically competitive for an employer to keep you. For that reason most people plan to have means to substantiate their cost of living until your Maker tolls the bells for you. I wish my Maker would call me before I have to go through the indignity of not being able to control my bodily functions, never mind carry on an active lifestyle, a life worth pursuing. But that would be arrogant on my part to demand. It is largely beyond my control and for that reason I have to plan for the eventuality that I may be on this Earth longer than I honestly want to. That's all that aspect of 'retirement' has to do with.

As to the convergence of the two, that's what each and every individual circumstances are made of. Your mileage will vary. Most people labor for money to afford to do what brings them joy but can't or wouldn't want to make a living out of. Others are lucky to pursue what they love and profit from it to their hearts content, but recognize one day they won't be able to do so anymore. Others simply value change itself and plan to have a change in life at a certain interval. One thing is true, the vast majority is not willing to downgrade their lifestyle dramatically in their 50s and 60s, and in the absence of full-time employment during these two decades (which according to the actuarial tables would kill you in your early 70s) would inevitably lead to such downgrade. So that plays a major part in peoples incentive for planning for retirement.

I'm part of the gen Y, and the retirement choice has largely been made for us. There is no guaranteed retirement. Most of us will have rather diminished income in retirement, which we will have to inevitable supplement with longer periods in the workforce. Those of us who refuse to do that will have to make other economic choices to allow us to live with low income. Prime examples is not subsidizing our childrens college education and/or paying off a modest home and not re-mortgaging ourselves in our 40s/50s.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
I know virtually no one that works until they are no longer able regardless of how happy they are with their life.
Its not about how happy they are with their "life", but what they do for work. I know many that work well past retirement age, but we are likely looking at a rather different set of people. In the most extreme case I know some 90 year olds that are still rather active in what they do.

There are so many things you can do, just stopping one day seems rather odd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Shifts in the economy make even the most successful / resilient entrepreneurs have little certainty in their income.
There is also no certainty in retirement savings. Regardless, I'm not suggesting that people live pay check to pay check. I think having savings and a small amount for disability is important. But retirement? Makes no sense to me.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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I agree with you somewhat - but more than likely many people are "forced" to retire, by their increasing medical needs or disabiltiies that come with age. Or by age discrimination. So you really need to plan for "not being able to work" rather than voluntary retirement.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
There's no way around it. Life isn't fair. Not everybody can be a statistical outlier and make a living at what they love. Supply and demand doesn't care about what drives your soul.
Yes, for many there is no way around it. But I think that is more a statement of the masses intelligence than anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
As to the second issue, that one is easier to dissect. It would be foolish to believe one could labor forever. There will come a point where it may not be possible to do so, or even economically competitive for an employer to keep you.
Obviously, one cannot labor forever. But there are a lot of different sorts of work and the vast majority of people in retirement are capable of doing a number of things still.

People don't think of retirement as the time they are infirm. Generally, once you go down that path you are not far from the grave. Also, saving some money for when you are infirm makes sense as its a real possibility. But how much do you need for that? I suggest 4~5 years living costs.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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You go right on saving for 4 or 5 years of "too old to work", I rather prefer to heed the advice of my relatives in their 80s and 90s, most of whom have not earned a regular paycheck in several decades: "Never know how long or short you may need money..."
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,476 posts, read 16,988,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
You go right on saving for 4 or 5 years of "too old to work", I rather prefer to heed the advice of my relatives in their 80s and 90s, most of whom have not earned a regular paycheck in several decades: "Never know how long or short you may need money..."
I will do just that.

In terms of the uncertainty, well there is no way to plan for it. Should I save every extra cent just in case I become infirm when I'm 45, 50? 55? What? At best one can work from averages. I can't plan for something I can't predict.

As far as I'm concerned I'm already retired.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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There is actually is a rather simple way to plan for anything that is "uncertain". You plan for a range of possibilities.

The same method has been used successfully by millions of people that are currently retired and living the best of any group of people in the country.

Even 50 years ago people lived for almost a decade after retiring, now it is much much longer: Average Retirement Length: 20 Years
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