Retirement is being disrupted also

retireby pedrosimoes7

Retirement – Another Industrial Idea whose day has come?
[Via Robert Paterson’s Weblog]

You can retire from a job. But can you retire from life? Is the idea of retirement part of the idea of the job?

If this is correct, then as fewer and fewer of us have jobs, then the idea of spending the age of 65 – 85 playing golf has to go away. As does the idea of us old folks living separate lives.

With low relative wages over the last 20 years, the saving base is not here anyway. 75% of American nearing retirement age in 2010 have less than $30,000 in savings. Most have no pensions in the old way of a predictable annual flow of money either. And even these, mainly in government, are under threat as many are underfunded. Many pensions have lost a lot of ground in the last 10 years as well. With very low interest rates, even people who have savings are earning next to no income. Government bonds pay less that 1.5%. This will force savers into capital.

This thoughtful piece got me thinking more about this today.


It is becoming less and less possible for anyone to accrue enough capital to retire at 70, much less 65, especially with another 20 years or more to live.

So people have to keep working, but, as the elderly also have more infirmities, the types of work they can do will change. Making a 70 year old compete with a 25 year old in a manual labor job can be inhuman. But that 70 year old is going to have a point of view, have insights and a lifetime of learning that can be very valuable.

Luckily, the barriers to entry for almost everything have dropped so far – and will continue to drop – that many of those 65 or older will be able to leverage their knowledge and skills to provide an income.

Part of what we as a society need to think about is how to facilitate this so that those who have ‘retired’ can survive. Retraining will help. As will better community processes to help them use their skills in ways to help the community. 

We will have to reconnect many of the community ties that Industrial Age approaches broke apart. Happily, this should not be too hard to accomplish, as Information Age incentives make community creation and support almost mandatory for survival.

But the sooner and faster we recognize hits and create paths for everyone to use their skills for the betterment of the community, and for the betterment of ‘retirees’, the better we will all be.

We may get a George Jetson lifestyle someday soon.

One thought on “Retirement is being disrupted also

  1. I thought this group was going to inherit their parents money and, therefore, didn’t worry about saving for retirement!

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