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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Here's a retirement plan: Don't.

Are you planning on retiring someday?

This Financial Post article suggests you don't retire, especially at a younger age. Specifically, "Those who retired at 55 were 89% likelier to die within 10 years of retirement than those who retired at 65."

Don and I don't have a "retirement" plan per se, and frankly we don't see the need for one. We have so many interests and several small income-earning streams (a little here, a little there) that we can ease out of the more physically-demanding ones and embrace the less physical options as we get older. We're also reaching the stage where our children are becoming adults and we will no longer be financially responsible for them, reducing our expeses.

We also long ago embarked on the concept of reducing our expenses to meet our income, rather than raising our income to meet our expenses.

And the question arises, retire from what? Country living? Not as long as we're capable of enjoying it. Writing? Not likely. Wood crafting? We might ease up on that aspect, but likely won't ever cease.

Frankly, "retirement" suggests you're finally able to cease working at jobs you dislike enough to want to leave them behind and start enjoying life. We like what we're doing and therefore see no need to stop, as long as we're physically able to continue.

The article states, "Pensions for workers are retrograde ideas, barely a century old in the English speaking world, that have outlived their purpose, if they ever had a valid one at all. Instead of incenting us to retire, we should be incented to keep working. We’ll live longer and better, and we’ll make the world a better place, too."

Not everyone has the option to continue working in their fields. Some careers are cut short at a certain age due to safety concerns. Others (my older brother included) are laid off and unable to find another job in the same field because no one wants to pay for worth and experience and instead prefers younger (cheaper) workers.

But when those factors don't come into play, continuing to work well into old age at occupations you enjoy seems like it's the best thing.

My hope is I won't leave the farm until they carry me out feet-first. How about everyone else? Are you planning on retiring? Or, to change the nuance, what are your retirement plans?


  1. Hi Patrice and Don. God Bless.
    I always did have a reservation about picking an age and "retiring" but this reservation crystalized into a decision when our pastor, bless his heart, taught us what the Bible says about "retirement" -- NOTHING! There is no Biblical precept for stopping work and living like a parasite for the remainder of your days. Taking things easier when you get old is only natural because you break easier and don't have as much stamina, besides the old need to make way for the young. However, becoming a couch potato, or a lounge lizard, or a tourist tramp isn't in the cards for me (or the Bible either).
    One of my best friends is 84 and is head of his family band. They often go to "rest" homes and play Christian and country music for folks 15 years younger than him, and in much worse shape because of all the "rest" they get. He's an inspiration. Iron either wears out, or gets rusty. I prefer to wear out.

    Will Robertson,
    Ridgecrest, CA

  2. We're in the 'retirement' camp as far as hubby's job. Old school pension. I'm a homemaker and have been for 34 years. His job (law enforcement) has a bodily wear time limit. He continued with a second job for five years 'retiring' again with another (small) pension. We work together around the home with the garden, yard, splitting wood, volunteering at church and the community and stay quite active. Having a special needs adult son at home and hubby retired gives me more opportunity to get out. We spent the last 10 years of his career making sure we were completely debt free. No time or desire to be couch potatoes.

  3. Simple yet thought-provoking post. I will be required to retire from my current job (Correction Officer) when I turn 65, which will be in 5.75 years from now. This bugs me but I understand. Seriously, who wants to be in a fight for their lives with a murderer and be backed up by an old decrepit person? Actually, no one believes my real age and I make no secret of it. I can still kick butt plus I have the wisdom of years behind me to handle certain problems without violence. After several other careers in my early life which should have led to retirement, times changed and jobs changed. The fact is that people 'age' at different rates. I know plenty of people who are much younger than I am that look and feel and act much, much older. I just happen to come from a line of long-lived active individuals who don't really look their age and can protect themselves or save their own lives in an emergency as well as helping others. Since Social Security started removing money from me when I was 16, I had no real choice about it all these years. Now I am on a different retirement plan which will only give me 40% - not really enough to live on. I am still eligible for SocSec but who knows if there will even be any money left after we give it all away to folks who never paid in to the system. I will have to keep working until I drop, but then again, I always intended to so it's all good. Jesus said "occupy till I come". We must all keep busy and earning a living unless we are disabled, and there are NO guarantees either way. That's my humble two cents.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  4. I do have to add (after reading the link) that my dad retired at age 56 from Shell Oil (the company mentioned in article). He and my mom built/paid cash for a home in a retirement area, are still 'kicking' (age 85 & 79) are about to downsize to a 55+ senior neighborhood. I think the key is staying active. He works out at the gym 3 times a week .. both do a lot of volunteering at their church. Sometimes I think these articles have an agenda to 'steer' people in a particular direction. Just my two cents.

  5. "Retirement" was not a word or concept I grew up with. Folks worked until they couldn't, and then they were taken care of by family and life went on as it always had.

    My Grandma worked a good garden well into her 80s and my uncles still saddled up and moved cows well into their 70s. Pioneer stock, mixed Indians and tough as nails, every single one of them.

    I expect to die with my boots on. lol

    A. McSp

  6. It's all relative. I retired at 56. I had 20 years in the military so I was already taking a pension from that service. I worked for the state for awhile so I took an early pension from that (lost 16% for taking it early). When I turned 62 I took my SS which also was smaller due to taking it early. Never looked back. Spend weeks at a time in our beautiful national parks, occasional trips to Hawaii and Europe. Motor home through the Northwest all summer, visit the Southwest in the winter, rode trip to Alaska every other spring. Life is good.

  7. Retire from my city job so I can move to the country & 'work' there!

  8. I have every intention of retiring and enjoying my life of travel after.

  9. I was'forced' into retirement on the eve of my 50th birthday via a layoff. It has been a little over a year, and I've run into the same problem as your brother. Why should they hire me when they can hire 2 new grads for the same price? Well, it's been a blessing in disguise, as it's enabled me to stay home and help raise my grandson. I truly believe it was His plan all along! Now I have the time to garden too. I may not 'work' outside the home, but there's plenty here to keep me busy, and less stressful at that!

  10. I don't plan on ever retiring willfully. I like having someplace to go to on the weekdays, working like I should.

  11. I expect my husband and I will work at our day jobs for another 15-20 years (we're in our mid-40s). I don't hate my day job, though; I like it well enough but you know, I wouldn't go if they didn't pay me! (^_^)

    But we own land and do a lot of gardening (fruit trees, berries, vegetables) and are now raising chickens, too. So when we finally retire, we'll just keep on (or even increase) the hobby homesteading.

  12. I retired a few years ago at 65 and started volunteer work at a resale shop here in a large metro area. Most of the other ladies are 10-20 years older and still going strong. I think the key is having a reason for getting up and going each and every day. I have never worked this hard for a paycheck or for myself but knowing others are depending on me, well, there is no thinking involved. Just doing. It feels great and it keeps us all in great shape. Maybe it just took this long to find that job that needed me and now it doesn't even seem like work.

  13. Exactly Patrice. You guys have the best plan and more than likely before this is over. The only plan that in general.

  14. At age 60, I don't have a job, I have a vocation. I teach in a Catholic High School. My public school counterparts usually retire in their mid 50's with a pretty good pension. I teach in a Catholic school because that is what God has given me in my desire to serve Him. Retirement? When God says to me "Well done, no more is expected of you". Greg in Kansas

  15. I had a hi stress job and at the age of 50 the MS I had lived with since the age of 22, put me in a wheelchair, forcing me to " retire ". It took two years but I managed to walk again but would never be able to go back to my former job. I am now 68 and sell my caning at Farmers markets, Garden, and am involved in our small community.. I love what I do, and will continue to be as active as my health will allow. Dee in the South West

  16. We were forced into 'retirement' early (58 for hubby) and we downsized, moved onto a small parcel and spend our time working in the garden and doing projects, volunteering at the church etc. The people who retire and die are the ones who retire and sit down! My mother who is 80 just bought a new SUV, drove from CA to MO to run the estate sale for her mother who recently passed at 102. If you can plan to be debt free then retiring is just a step in the slow down process. Retired is just another word for 'my own boss'! (and of course my husbands boss!)

  17. I love this post! Thank you for sharing! ;)

  18. I had to retired at age 60, law enforcement employer said that's when everyone has to retire. Did not draw SS, until age 66. Kept farming unit this winter (age 73), then sold the farm. Have one acre with the home, so have plenty of garden room. Sell a few vegetables during the summer. Take time to fish and travel. Spend a couple months in the winter down South, with the motor home. If I had it to do over again, would have retired at 55, time has gone too fast. Am able to keep busy from day light till dark, and seem to never get caught up.

  19. I am retired. But I am more active than with the chickens, sheep, donkey, dogs, cat, gardens, orchard, spinning wool, preserving, than I have been in my adult life........ and a whole lot happier too. Retiring doesn't have to mean sitting down and dying. It could mean doing the things you love instead of the things you have to do for income.

  20. I think its perfect if, like you, a person has some small income streams. Unfortunately, that age discrimination thing is a very real problem if one needs a "regular" job with better health benefits etc.

  21. Since my parents retired, they have lead far healthier, more active lives caring for their huge garden, travelling, putting up preserves, doing more repairs themselves in their workshop - so if retirement means this and not sitting in front of the TV all day long, I'm all for it! It has served my parents really well.

    I don't think pension systems are outmoded, either, as many employers try to lay off their workforce before they hit sixty, and these people generally don't get any more paid work and usually don't have big gardens or mini farms either. There needs to be a sort of safety system for these people, especially if they had badly paid jobs and couldn't save a lot.

  22. I recently retired at 65 from a long career in nursing and now help my husband at our chicken farm. I have had the best of both worlds. I don't work 12 hour shifts anymore but work in the mornings with him. He couldn't find anyone to work for him (no one wants to work 7 days a week in a chicken house) so I said I'd retire and work with him. I'm loving this retirement!

  23. Here's a story I saw on the news along these lines:


  24. If you are more likely to die early if you retire at 55, you are really going to have a short life if you retire in your 30's.


  25. I quit my job to stay at home at age 47. I've been busy from dawn to bedtime ever since. My husband retired from the military after almost 25 years as an "action guy", so he's a little "worn". He hired on with the railroad, and it's not all sitting in the engine, it too is hard on the body. He is taking his retirement at age 62 with the hopes we can get the work needed at our new "retirement" place done with our own labor. Fencing, cross fencing, pruning apple trees and picking apples (we have 28 trees altogether), expanding our chicken flock, raising a couple steers are all in our future and there is lots to do and lots to learn. The garden is started but we have a lot more to do as it needs expanding. Canning and freezing produce all ready takes a bit of time in the fall and I hope to put up far more. Really, a month in the southern US during the darkest days of winter sounds really pleasant and we hope to do that when we slow down from our next adventure. I don't know how anyone could just sit around, and I've never known any retiree that does that.

  26. My husband is retired military. He is now working for the state in
    which we live. We have about 13 more years to pay the house
    off before he retired. Bit he wants to ritire from the state in about
    3 years due to health issues. He has artithes and he is an electrian. It hurts his feet to stand on a ladder,etc.
    Or he would stay working
    So we will see