I live in a world that is always talking about retirement, the education system. Most teachers put in their time, retire and start a second career. Now, I’m not insinuating that educators just work for their retirement. In fact, I know many teachers who could retire, but they love what they do so they continue on. However, the fact is that retirement usually always comes up from year to year, usually at the beginning of the year.
Retirement also comes up in the mainstream. With our aging Baby Boomer generation and the current financial situation, everyone knows that Social Security and other government programs won’t be able to keep up. The system is dependent on more workers to pay into the system to cover the costs of the retired and senior citizens.
As the economic situation becomes more dire, the government will either have to cut back on benefits, which many won’t like, or they will have to print more, which devalues the funds retired people do get which doesn’t buy what is used to buy. Recent violent protests have happened in foreign countries because of austerity measures that should be implemented because of government benefits that are becoming too costly.
But in reality, retirement is a fairly new trend, as far as world history goes. And it really became a necessity when big business needed to move the slower, not as healthy, older worker out for the younger, faster, healthier worker.
“Retirement came in very handy in the United States, where large numbers of aging factory workers were wandering around the Industrial Revolution, dropping things into the works, slowing down assembly lines, taking too many personal days and usurping the places of younger, more productive men with families to support. It was one thing when an occasional superannuated farmer leaned on his hoe in an agrarian culture — a few bales of hay more or less didn’t matter. But it was quite another when lots of old people caused great unemployment among younger workers by refusing to retire. The Great Depression made the situation even worse. It was a Darwinian sacrificial moment. Retirement was a necessary adaptation and everybody knew it, but the old guys were not going quietly. The toughest among them refused to quit, even when plant managers turned up the conveyor belts to Chaplinesque speeds.”
So instead of losing money on employees, big business decided to pay them off. Where did the idea start, California! But the Federal government couldn’t stand by and let CA take all the credit, FDR got into the act and…. Social Security was born…
By 1935, it became evident that the only way to get old people to stop working for pay was to pay them enough to stop working. A Californian, Francis Townsend, initiated a popular movement by proposing mandatory retirement at age 60. In exchange, the Government would pay pensions of up to $200 a month, an amount equivalent at the time to a full salary for a middle-income worker. Horrified at the prospect of Townsend’s radical generosity, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Social Security Act of 1935, which made workers pay for their own old-age insurance.
So basically, retirement was a way for others to say, “get out of the way! You’re slow and not valuable anymore!” Well, I’m not really wanting to go out that way! I want to work and be of value till the day I die. The key though, is not to be involved with big business!
Plans and Attitude for Old Age
I don’t want to depend on my money in old age being tied up in the stock market. I know of people who lost 1/2 of their retirements in the stock market when the stock market crashed in 08. They panicked, moved it and didn’t get it back when the stock market went back up again. The stock market is very volatile. Many say that we can’t experience another uptick like we had this century. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing to have some money in the stock market, I just don’t want to depend on it for my old age. I want to have resources available to me. I want to have tangibles. I don’t want to have to depend on a big huge chunk of change!
Of course, you do need money, at least if you want to live in the real world. So, there must be a way for someone who is retired, to continue to make money and not count on the stock market, the government, or even in the banks. This is where the “wisdom” of old age can kick in and help.
Retired people have skills and abilities and know how to use them. They might not be the most fit or the most healthy, of course, that is relative to who you are talking to, but they have knowledge. I really believe that those that are in retirement or entering into retirement, really need to start preparing for what and how they will continue to contribute to their finances. That’s what I plan to do. I might not be able to lift like I can now. I might not be able to work long hours outside, but I will be able to work.
The Family Factor
This brings me to another topic that should be considered. In the past, the family unit was closer to each other, if not on the same property and land. Today, families can be spread out all over the world and only see each other on holidays. I believe that as the economy gets tighter, families should think about this. You should be there for your parents. You should be there for your kids.
I know that there are many out there who just can’t stand to be under the same roof with family for too long. Why? It used to not be so? Maybe it’s a “me” attitude or a respect thing. But I can see only benefits from being close to my family. Yes, there might be times when we need breathers from each other, but doesn’t everyone? I don’t know…maybe it’s all in the way you were raised.
Am I Really Going to Retire?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t plan on retiring the way the normal American thinks about retiring today. I’m not going to draw money from my IRA, worry if I’m going to have enough till I die, sit in front of the TV waiting to for my jello to harden up in the refrigerator. I’m going to stay active, resourceful and relevant. I’ll plan out my garden, hopefully raise chickens and continue to be a resource to others.
What do you think? I would really like to here from some retired folks…or some in retirement age who are bucking the system!
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