Retirement as a Life Goal

Over my nearly 40-year career I have advised a lot of people on retirement planning. Here some key thoughts – 

  • A life goal of no longer being productive but just playing or piddling every day is not consistent with the way God wired men. Adam was put in the garden and told to keep it before the fall. God did not tell him to work the garden for 40-50 years and play the rest of his life. 
  • Nowhere in Scripture is idleness extolled – we are all ministers of different types and there is no retirement from ministry that I can find in the Bible.
  • Not much can be worse than not having a sense of purpose.
  • A 2000 survey of retirees found that only 50% said that life in retirement was better than when they were working and the percentage of men who said so is significantly lower than women, probably because women have more relationships apart from work than men do and that is a key contributor to life satisfaction in retirement. https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2005/02/ib_28_508.pdf 
  • A good retirement is not just FROM something but TO something that is worthy.
  • When Social Security was started in the 1930s the age for retirement benefits was set at 65 and so were most pension benefits, close to the age of the average male life expectancy then. Today, a man age 65 is predicted to live until age 83 on average. For many men, retirement is now two decades long.
  • Because energy wanes progressively more rapidly in a man’s last three decades, scaling back can be appropriate according to the individual’s health and strength

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