Retirement is fool’s gold

Many people see retirement as their golden years. After a career working for a corporation, small business, or government, you can look forward to magical, carefree years of travel, sports, parties, family, friends, and waking up with no alarm clock. Sounds wonderful, right? Well, not so fast.

Life expectancy

Today, our common retirement age is 65. Yet in 1930, three years before Social Security was established, life expectancy in the US was 62 years. Therefore, most Americans have not even reached full retirement age. The gap between retirement age and life expectancy was quite small. In 2019, the overall life expectancy in the US is 78 years, with an increasing number of people living into their 90s and beyond.

Unfortunately, many people now work in a professional job for 30 years, retire at age 50, and spend more years in retirement than they worked. With the increases in the cost of living, it is a simple mathematical equation to see that we cannot afford this situation as a country. As people get Medicare coverage at age 65, government payments for health care can last 30 years or more.

income streams

Even with Social Security, Medicare, and personal savings and investments, living for 40 years without a solid income stream is risky business. An economic downturn, a major health issue, family problems, a housing crisis, a stock market correction, or many other life events can throw a dagger through your financial plan. Even in an optimistic scenario, a savings of $2 million can be spent down to a small level after 40 years.

Aside from money, what about life purpose? Is it healthy to wake up every morning without the discipline of work? Although, for many people, the answer is hell yes. They find the elimination of office politics, difficult co-workers, and no more tight deadlines to be a huge plus. Well, maybe avoiding these problems in the short term is a good thing.

Purpose

There is a happy medium between working in a highly structured and stressful job and not working at all. The Internet provides unlimited opportunity for part-time work at home endeavors. As an empty nester with fewer bills along with retirement funds, the supplemental income needed to avoid spending your savings is modest. A monthly income of $2,000 may be all it takes to stabilize your financial ship.

At the same time, you will have daily projects to keep your mind challenged, clients to attend to, and the satisfaction of knowing that you continue to contribute to the economy. This work structure can occur with a flexible schedule so you can integrate your time with work and personal tasks. Your quality of life will remain solid as long as your bank account grows or at least doesn’t shrink. With a steady stream of income, you can donate additional funds to charities of your choice.

Foundation

Smart families know that their influence knows no bounds, especially across multiple generations. Making sure your income grows during a long retirement is the best way to leave money for your family in a way that can last for generations. Imagine the satisfaction of knowing that your family’s descendants 100 years from now will be educated or free from financial hardship. By establishing a foundation, you can always donate money to a charity annually long after your death.

value of work

Consider committing to work as long as you can, regardless of the structure. If you have the good fortune of health, which can keep you working well into your 80s or 90s, then keep going. When this situation is not in the cards, dedicate yourself to the limitless opportunities that the Internet age offers us. Personally, I like the concept of digital agriculture. Just as the members of the family farm worked for the rest of their lives at a reduced rate, we too can work for many more years with digital content. The Internet may be the family farm of the future. Any member of the household can contribute to the family income through online projects or jobs.

Perhaps the dream of a stress-free retirement is just nonsense being sold to us by the retirement industry. Be sure to take control of your mature years with an independent perspective that considers the possibility of long life in practical ways. Since I enjoy my work, I have decided to change the image of retirement for the constant and quiet satisfaction of my online digital writing skills for as long as I can. Have I challenged you to consider another path?

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