The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Retirement Choice ?

There are many reasons to retire.  You might retire for health reasons, or you might retire because you already have plenty of money.  You might retire because you want to do charity-work.  I think most people retire, because society expects us to WANT to retire.  Why do you want to retire?  Who told you that?  Not all retirements are successful.  How will you retire from retirement?

I know one retiree who had a troubling reason to retire.  He didn’t retire because he wanted to do something.  He retired because he wanted to NOT work, as if all work is a bad thing.  Not working is not the same thing as doing nothing.  It is an attitude last seen during the unionization wars in the 1930’s.  Work was something the wealthy forced onto the lower classes.  If you worked, it was because “the man” was forcing you to work.  It reminds me of the old Helen Reddy ballad – you know, “I am woman, hear me roar”.  This retiree seems to say “I am not working, and you can’t make me!”  It is an act of defiance.

Most people dwell on the question of WHEN can I retire, instead of WHY should I retire?  If work makes you so miserable that it is impacting your health or your relationships, then you do need to make a change, but does that mean you need to retire?

One of the primary constraints on our GDP growth is the shortage of labor.  Why do you want to make it worse by dropping out of the labor force?