Sent: 29-09-2009 12:43:01
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Forget About Retiring
Checked your forehead lately? See a use-by date? No? Then why on earth are you worrying about retirement?
That was how Amazon started a review about the book "Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive" by David Brogan & Keith Davis. Brogan is an international conflict manager and mediator whilst Davis is an author with more than thirty years' experience in investigative journalism, advertising, and media management.
The review went on to state that retirement is a dumb idea with no place in modern society because it is absurd, economically unviable and can kill you. I am not sure I would go that far, but you get the point.
Stephen Lunn, writing in the Australian argued that paying for people in their retirement has become the biggest system failure in the developed world. Further, he suggests that no Western government can afford the impending rush of long-living retired baby boomers, a problem that runs into the tens of trillions of dollars.
I have written on this issue at length, but the approach of Brogan & Davis is slightly different I must admit. Another reviewer of the book argues that people should avoid retirement and as a result, stay alive. The basic premise of the approach is that retirement is notion to be banished from all sensible conversation. Brogan and Davis instead promote the idea that no one should retire and no one should want to retire.
Quite apart from the economic reality that our respective Governments can't possible afford the retirement we all expected when we started our working lives. Instead they say we should look at rearranging our lives to suit our changing circumstances, but allow no room for the idea of a use, by date when we stop and vegetate, because that's when we die, usually of boredom.
In another review, it is claimed that Baby Boomers are the most-researched generation ever and have pushed back the boundaries during every decade of their lives. With many entering their 50s and early 60s, conflicts are increasing. Indeed they are perceived as upcoming dependent 'burdens' on the State. Despite this, those who want to stay in the labour market are often subject to enforced retirement because they have reached a significant birthday. They are encouraged to be self-sufficient, yet chided for occupying economic space needed by younger workers.
As this particular reviewer notes, employers complain about a skills shortage but expect those with the requisite experience and knowledge, many of whom are still fit and able to carry on, to down tools and simply fade away. I can't help but agree with his next point, despite a re-evaluation by some corporations regarding the benefits of engaging or retaining seniors, Baby Boomers can be forgiven for feeling they cannot win. If they retire there are becoming 'dependent upon other' and if they stay, they are 'preventing younger people getting jobs'!
But, as Brogan says, "for people who retire to the beach or the country, the biggest problem in their lives becomes the crack in the footpath outside their house. The more people have to do the healthier they are. The less they have to do, the sicker they get. People just give up. They reach the end of the rainbow they've been striving for, and then with no goals their health packs up and they become a greater burden on the health system.
Brogan goes on to add that the smart people aren't the ones retiring. He notes that those that can afford to retire don't and those that can't afford to do. He claims (with some justification I believe) that people who stay working often aren't doing it for the money. It's what they enjoy, it's what challenges them. It's about staying engaged with the world around you, not withdrawing. I suspect the likes of Rupert Murdoch would heartily agree.
Finally, Brogan warns retirement is the biggest system failure in the Western world. As he says, millions of people have accepted a false notion and spend a great chunk of their lives dealing with the consequences, resulting in epidemics of depression and anxiety. Strong stuff but hard to refute, especially when he claims that "There is not a single developed economy that can keep the Baby Boomers in the manner to which they believe they will be looked after."
If I was sanctimonious I would point out that I have been making similar claims for many years, but as I am not, I won't....
The book details are as follows:
Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive: The New Retirement Revolution.
David Bogan & Keith Davies
Published by McGraw-Hill.
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