If you are even remotely close to “retirement age” (early to mid 60s) you grew up in a world where working people looked forward to a time when they could retire. That meant no more alarm clock, no more work days, no more punching the clock. It meant collecting pensions and social security, fishing, visiting with grandkids and just enjoying life. At least that was the dream.
Matt Becker on the Simple Dollar recently opined that retirement in this sense is an out of date idea and should be replaced with financial independence. Financial independence meaning you can live without uncertainty about your financial security. You can work if you like to and as much as you like to, but you do not have to.
The Retirement Myth
While it is true that more people today over 65 are working than in the past 70 years in fact older people have always worked. Some had no interest in the fishing pole and rocking chair and worked until they could no longer do so, or until they died. Many older people worked full or part time because Social Security is not enough to live on for most. That is increasingly true.
Financial Independence Regardless of Retirement
Becoming financially independent is a very good idea no matter what your age. Living below your means, saving, investing and building wealth has always been an excellent idea. No matter how old you are working toward more such independence is a great idea. It allows you to work, if you work, because you want to and because it fulfills you, not because you have to.
Having It Both Ways
People are still retiring and are likely to do so in some form for a long time to come. It is not so much that retirement is old fashioned or obsolete. It is that retirement looks different now. Some people will fully retire, leaving jobs and doing volunteer work or traveling or just enjoying life. If they are financially independent they can afford to do that and if it is what they want to do that is great.
More people will continue to work, some in their old jobs, some in new jobs, some in part time jobs, some as consultants, some will build all new careers. Depending on their financial condition some will do this because they have to, some will do it because they want to.
The ideal is to do what you want to. Do what you enjoy. Do what fulfills you. Retirement no longer has to mean one thing. It may include work and a lot of other things.
The ideal does not just happen though. It takes preparation. It requires you to prepare for the future. The closer you can come to financial independence the closer you can come to whatever your idea of the ideal retirement is: with as much work as you want to do, not as you have to do.
Learn how to manage your money, eliminate debt and build wealth in my book, Your Financial Success.Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.