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Old 07-12-2011, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,729,443 times
Reputation: 32304

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I think very deep-seated, often unexamined attitudes underlie people's responses and practices regarding work and retirement, especially early retirement. The Purtain work ethic is basically a good thing, in my opinion, but it sure can get carried too far! I had an uncle who seemed to think work was an end in itself, whereas I viewed it more as a means to an end. His self-respect appeared to be tied to continuing to work into old age. Isn't this attitude more likely to occur in males than in females? Many people continue to work well beyond the point of financial necessity because they have no idea what to do with themselves outside of the workplace. Part of justifying that attitude to themselves could be viewing people who stop working "early" as lazy. I don't buy that; to me, lazy is sponging or mooching off of others. If people have been able to provide for their own early retirement, more power to them. I continued to work part-time after retiring from full-time work at age 61 even though I didn't need the money. I did this because I found the work itself deeply satisfying and gratifying; being genuinely appreciated by others (something I didn't always get during my regular career) is a very powerful thing. I guess I am trying to say that there are lots of different individual situations, attitudes, and motivations. But no one should have to get the third degree about why they are not working anymore - that is just tacky and rude.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:17 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
6,131 posts, read 6,440,860 times
Reputation: 3657
Why would anyone feel guilty about being able to retire early? That falls under the same kind of mentality that would ask any number of similarly stupid questions, such as:

Do you feel guilty being the CEO of a large company at the age of 35 making a $1 million salary, plus bonuses and stock options?
Do you feel guilty being a Neurosurgeon making a $500,000 salary?
Do you feel guilty not splurging and wasting money when younger, but instead saving for retirement?
Do you feel guilty having worked so hard to get a graduate degree or professional doctorate degree with honors from an Ivy League school?
Do you feel guilty being healthy when many others your age may not be?
Do you feel guilty because you are married to a loving and caring spouse when many others are not?
Do you feel guilty when you win a golf tournament because the other players did not?
And of course - Do you feel guilty having saved and invested wisely for early retirement when so many others elected not to...or didn't take advantage of financially successful situations...or didn't take the same risk as you did...or didn't have the same financial luck in life as you did?


In my opinion anyone that would feel guilty about being able to retire early (or any of the above questions) has a very weak self-esteem and virtually no self-confidence, which would likely only be an itty-bitty tiny percentage of the people that are able to achieve such success or advantages in life.

Some people may have noticeably [outward] envy (the desire for something that someone else has, or a feeling of ill will over another person's advantages in general)...or noticeably [outward] jealously (a resentful suspicion that someone else has what rightfully belongs to the jealous person). If you sense that someone is envious of you, that is common and understandable. If you sense or are confronted by someone that is jealous of you - then that is their problem, and not yours...

Last edited by highcotton; 07-12-2011 at 09:40 PM..
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:17 PM
 
9,188 posts, read 9,267,265 times
Reputation: 28759
Quote:
I think very deep-seated, often unexamined attitudes underlie people's responses and practices regarding work and retirement, especially early retirement. The Purtain work ethic is basically a good thing, in my opinion, but it sure can get carried too far! I had an uncle who seemed to think work was an end in itself, whereas I viewed it more as a means to an end. His self-respect appeared to be tied to continuing to work into old age. Isn't this attitude more likely to occur in males than in females? Many people continue to work well beyond the point of financial necessity because they have no idea what to do with themselves outside of the workplace. Part of justifying that attitude to themselves could be viewing people who stop working "early" as lazy. I don't buy that; to me, lazy is sponging or mooching off of others. If people have been able to provide for their own early retirement, more power to them. I continued to work part-time after retiring from full-time work at age 61 even though I didn't need the money. I did this because I found the work itself deeply satisfying and gratifying; being genuinely appreciated by others (something I didn't always get during my regular career) is a very powerful thing. I guess I am trying to say that there are lots of different individual situations, attitudes, and motivations. But no one should have to get the third degree about why they are not working anymore - that is just tacky and rude.

I don't give anyone the third degree about making a choice to retire early or late in life.

It doesn't keep me though from having deep, deep reservations about where early retirement is taking us all as a society. I see these drawbacks to more and more people retiring before 65:

1. More pressure on public and the few remaining private retirement funds that exist as someone retiring at 55 or 58 or 60 lives to be 90 before they die and drains benefits in a way no actuary could imagine.

2. Less wealth and abundance being created as a society as more people retire and fewer people labor.

3. A lopsided percentage of retired people participating in civic affairs because they have more time on their hands than working people do. Their views are always heard while the voices of young working people are often drowned out simply because at the end of the workday they can't find the energy to go vote.

4. A culture being created that teaches young people that work is something to be avoided, shunned, or gotten out of at the earliest possible age. What's important in life is to retire early and get other people to support you. Since the generation before did it, a sense of entitlement that they too should receive the same thing even if that is unsustainable.

5. More and more focus on material rewards and short term pleasure rather than on the importance of what is actually accomplished at work. Maybe I am unrealistic, but I would hope a retired school teacher should feel more joy knowing that many of the children he taught grew up and went onto successful lives and careers than on the feeling he gets when he deposits his retirement check in the bank. I know that when I finally retire that thinking back on all the clients whose problems I solved will be a great source of accomplishment for me. Material rewards are important, but I think for many in this country they have become all consuming.

6. Less pressure to change bad or dangerous jobs so they are more doable. Why bother? Why not just retire everyone early and move new employees into them who have to contend with terrible working conditions.

7. Whether young people realize it or not, they could and would benefit if many of us were in the labor force and were there as a pool of knowledge and experience. In a recession, younger workers tend to be let go first. I think that tells you what value most employers place on older workers. What I try to do at work is not lecture young people on the "good old days". Instead, I try to give them very short, very practical advice that I have gleaned over the years. Most seem to respond to that.

No offense is intended to you or anyone else who took early retirement. However, as longevity continues to increase early retirement seems more and more like a luxury we can't afford.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,729,443 times
Reputation: 32304
To Markg91359: As usual I enjoyed your thoughtful post. I see no contradiction at all between my post and yours. Each post was addressing a different aspect, mine the individual aspect and yours the societal aspect.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,200,766 times
Reputation: 14611
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I don't give anyone the third degree about making a choice to retire early or late in life.

No offense is intended to you or anyone else who took early retirement. However, as longevity continues to increase early retirement seems more and more like a luxury we can't afford.
A couple of notes: my early retirement was earned by working MORE than my counterparts. My early retirement was achieved because I lived beneath my means for my entire professional career while stocking away dollar after dollar into our American companies by way of mutual fund investments (good for the economy, investing in America). My early retirement opens up a position for another worker who might have been unemployed had I remained in my job.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,200,766 times
Reputation: 14611
Quote:
Originally Posted by highcotton View Post
In my opinion anyone that would feel guilty about being able to retire early (or any of the above questions) has a very weak self-esteem and virtually no self-confidence, which would likely only be an itty-bitty tiny percentage of the people that are able to achieve such success or advantages in life.

...
Although I agree w/ a lot of your post, this point is quite a stretch in psychoanalyzing people you don't know.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:33 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
6,131 posts, read 6,440,860 times
Reputation: 3657
Quote:
Originally Posted by BucFan View Post
Although I agree w/ a lot of your post, this point is quite a stretch in psychoanalyzing people you don't know.
Thanks BucFan. I do not believe it's a stretch at all...because high self-esteem and self-confidence comes naturally with success, whereas feeling or having guilt, weak self-esteem and no self-confidence does not. It has no place - they are polar opposites...and there is no personal justification for feeling anything but good about yourself for having achieved success through hard work, education, dedication, taking risk, etc., etc.

Successful people are almost always confident people - they feel good about themselves in what they've accomplished and what it took to achieve that end result. Likewise successful people have a high self-esteem and confidence in themselves. I've never seen a successful and confident person that feels guilty about their success. I dare say that virtually no one feels 'guilty' about their success and the hard work it took them to achieve that success. Why should they? Feeling 'guilty' about their sucess should never even cross their minds...and I doubt it does. Others may envy successful people...and others may be jealous of successful people, but that doesn't cause a successful person to have a guilt trip, or low self-esteem or lack of confidence. I cannot imagine a successful person beating themselves up over being successful in their achievements because someone else was not. I think that is a very strange thought process. Feeling 'guilty' about ones success has absolutely no place (it does not exist) in a successful person's persona. Why should it?

Last edited by highcotton; 07-13-2011 at 07:21 PM..
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:30 PM
 
29,772 posts, read 34,856,103 times
Reputation: 11681
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I don't give anyone the third degree about making a choice to retire early or late in life.

It doesn't keep me though from having deep, deep reservations about where early retirement is taking us all as a society. I see these drawbacks to more and more people retiring before 65:

1. More pressure on public and the few remaining private retirement funds that exist as someone retiring at 55 or 58 or 60 lives to be 90 before they die and drains benefits in a way no actuary could imagine.

2. Less wealth and abundance being created as a society as more people retire and fewer people labor.

3. A lopsided percentage of retired people participating in civic affairs because they have more time on their hands than working people do. Their views are always heard while the voices of young working people are often drowned out simply because at the end of the workday they can't find the energy to go vote.

4. A culture being created that teaches young people that work is something to be avoided, shunned, or gotten out of at the earliest possible age. What's important in life is to retire early and get other people to support you. Since the generation before did it, a sense of entitlement that they too should receive the same thing even if that is unsustainable. Key to many pension reforms efforts are making actuarial adjustments to meet changes in how long people live.

5. More and more focus on material rewards and short term pleasure rather than on the importance of what is actually accomplished at work. Maybe I am unrealistic, but I would hope a retired school teacher should feel more joy knowing that many of the children he taught grew up and went onto successful lives and careers than on the feeling he gets when he deposits his retirement check in the bank. I know that when I finally retire that thinking back on all the clients whose problems I solved will be a great source of accomplishment for me. Material rewards are important, but I think for many in this country they have become all consuming.

6. Less pressure to change bad or dangerous jobs so they are more doable. Why bother? Why not just retire everyone early and move new employees into them who have to contend with terrible working conditions.

7. Whether young people realize it or not, they could and would benefit if many of us were in the labor force and were there as a pool of knowledge and experience. In a recession, younger workers tend to be let go first. I think that tells you what value most employers place on older workers. What I try to do at work is not lecture young people on the "good old days". Instead, I try to give them very short, very practical advice that I have gleaned over the years. Most seem to respond to that.

No offense is intended to you or anyone else who took early retirement. However, as longevity continues to increase early retirement seems more and more like a luxury we can't afford.
Ponder this about your #1. Public pension funds have full pension after a specific number of years served. Usually 30 or 35. I have a hunch the folks running the pension fund can add and realize if their average employee starts at age 24 they will have 35 years in at age 59. Also retirement health care benefits reach their full vesting after a number of years served so if after 35 years they have awarded you both they probably figured long ago the average age folks would retire at. Now dying is another story.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:52 PM
 
624 posts, read 1,076,733 times
Reputation: 616
My wife and I both retired at the age of 55 from working in the public schools. We both were told to stay and get the maximum and work until age 62. No way were we going to do that. I had very little in common with a 15 year old and little patience for standardized testing ; "teahing to the state tests." We never needed "fancy pants stuff" and new gadgets or new cars. We take care of what we have and enjoy our time together and with others. I never once intended to stay until I was 62 in the education field. I do not feel one bit guilty taking our pension and 100% health, dental and vision benefits. We paid off all our debts and never used our house as a bank. I love being retired, I love having the freedom to choose to stay busy or to take a nap. Summer vacation all year...yahoo.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:55 PM
 
20,899 posts, read 39,168,910 times
Reputation: 19186
Bill: My take on retirement is that "every evening is Friday night, every sun-up is Saturday morning."
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