April 30, 2008


Hank Dagny (nice name) finds an appalling article called "Is 'early' retirement ... well, unpatriotic?"

When I hear my fellow baby boomers gleefully talk about their plans to retire ASAP, head for the Tuscan hills or otherwise continue their lifelong quest for "self-actualization," I have to bite my tongue.

It's not that I'm all work and no play. But there's just something -- lots of things -- wrong, in general, with retiring at 55, 62 or even 65. I would go so far as to call it profoundly selfish and unpatriotic.

For individuals, working longer can mean more income and savings and something to bequeath to one's children. For the nation, if millions of us worked until 67 instead of 62, Americans' wealth and consumption would increase appreciably, fueling stronger economic growth.

That added income would provide about $800 billion in additional tax revenue and reduce government benefit costs by at least $100 billion in 2045, according to Urban Institute calculations. This alone would cut the projected deficit in 2045 by 159 percent.

Well then, call us unpatriotic, because my husband's goal is to retire from the Army at 42 and be retired. Done. Finito. I don't know if that will stick because he might get bored being at home, but at the rate he's planning now, he will have the option of making it so.

And I dare some communist to say that what he's doing is "unpatriotic." He doesn't have to keep working an additional 25 years so he can fund social welfare programs. It's his responsibility to provide for himself and his family, nothing more. And as much as we've scrimped and saved and done without for the past six years so that we have the financial flexibility to do whatever he wants when he retires, I'll be damned if someone says that he has to work longer to help out deadbeats who didn't scrimp and save and do without.

Yes, we're selfish. I daresay the US would be a better place if everyone were a little more selfish, taking care of their own needs and doing what needs to be done to maximize profits and reach their goals. The Invisible freaking Hand.

Blood. Boiling. Calm. Down.

Posted by Sarah at April 30, 2008 09:55 AM | TrackBack

"Yes, we're selfish. I daresay the US would be a better place if everyone were a little more selfish, taking care of their own needs and doing what needs to be done to maximize profits and reach their goals."

Bingo Sarah!

Posted by: tim at April 30, 2008 10:34 AM

It's funny - we've never considered retiring early, but not because of some misplaces sense of funding other people's food stamps.

AFG loves his job - so doing his job is what he enjoys doing. He reads about his job when he's home. He plans the different aspects of his job and which path in it he should take.

He would do it until the day he died if he could.

But that's because he gets to do for a job what many people do from their armchairs as a hobby. If he worked in a factory or something I'm pretty sure he'd be out of there as soon as fiscally possible.

Posted by: airforcewife at April 30, 2008 12:48 PM

AFW, I imagine my husband will retire, get bored within a year, and start working again. But I could be wrong...

Posted by: Sarah at April 30, 2008 02:22 PM

DH got his 20 year letter the other day, he can officially start drawing a pension. (I am married to osmeone eligible for a pension?)

Holy Crap....

He has no interest in it right now....he likes working, and he loves being in the military...

Maybe later..

Posted by: awtm at April 30, 2008 05:52 PM

Wow! That's incredibly arrogant to make a blanket statement as to when people should retire. So many people seem to have issues with deciding to retire (as in resisting it) that I never really thought there was an epidemic of early-retirees that is sure to fuel our country's downfall. ;D But, seriously, when to retire is an intensely personal decision. And it's no one's business but the person making the decision.

Posted by: Marine Wife at April 30, 2008 09:28 PM

So I guess in this guy's view, the great mystery about the purpose of human life has now been solved.

The purpose of human life is to generate tax revenue for the government.

Posted by: david foster at May 1, 2008 11:12 AM

Unpatriotic? How ridiculous is that. I can think of many things that are unpatriotic, but "when" a person retires from active work is not one of them.

Although many people don't remember, there was no real retirement age until the Nixon era. We were having such economic troubles at the time, he's the one who introduced the "retirement age" of 65.

As for me - I don't know what I'd do if I retired. Be bored out of my skull I think. So, I have no plans to retire but it's not for patriotism, nor is it to keep paying into the system for others - merely for my own peace of mind. heh.

Posted by: Teresa at May 3, 2008 02:33 PM