Retirement is such a part of our cultural fabric that it’s viewed as a basic human right.
It’s the final chapter in the American Dream: a home, a family, a secure retirement.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
For much of American history, people worked until they were too sick to work anymore. The idea that a healthy person would voluntarily stop working — regardless of their age — was considered an extravagance privy only to the ultra-rich.
American culture changed after World War II. Retirement shifted from a luxury to a basic right, an entitlement of age. Corporate pensions, coupled with government Social Security, put retirement within reach of every American worker.
Corporation pension funds shrink, Social Security bounces towards bankruptcy, life expectancy grows longer, and people in their 60’s and 70’s are healthier and able to work.
Retirement is no longer an entitlement. It’s a luxury.
And it’s a luxury you may not experience … unless you grab it by the reins.
You can enjoy freedom, but nobody is going to create it for you. Neither your company nor your government will build your retirement on your behalf. You won’t find a few gift-wrapped decades of freedom under the Christmas tree.
If you want to retire, you’ll need to create it yourself.
Retirement is not a God-given right. With Social Security in question, pensions disappearing, and your own life expectancy growing, you cannot expect retirement on a silver platter.
While that’s scary, it opens incredible new possibilities.
Here’s the massive silver lining:
Now that retirement is in our own hands, we control how, when, and where we enjoy it.
We don’t need to wait until we turn 65. We don’t need to retire in our hometown (unless we want to). We don’t need to spend those days in a rocking chair, living on a meager pension.
We can retire at ANY age, ANY location, and spend those days doing ANYTHING we want. We can fund this through any investments that strike our fancy, such as rental income, index funds or small businesses that create passive income.
The scary news is that we’re in charge. But the liberating news is also that we’re in charge. Our lives are what we make of it.