The word retirement connotes different things to different people and situations.  To most it is a point in a person’s working life when they stop the process of formal work.  This stopping point can be determined by certain aspects.  Long term financial planning, working until physically unable to proceed or death are a few actions that lead to exiting the work force.  Forced retirement due to stresses placed on corporate America is another exit point for working America.  Another aspect of retirement is the concept of what a person does when retired.  Does a retiree merely change jobs and considers it retirement or does a person become so involved in civic action that their time is consumed with working for a better future for the country or world.  Of course there is the popular approach of doing nothing except living and enjoying the fruits of a productive working life.  There is no correct nor wrong approach to how to live in retirement, just what fits the individual’s abilities and desires.

The concept of retirement is relatively new when compared to the history of man.  Germany was the first country to introduce retirement in 1889.  Life expectations in 1889 was relatively short as compared to today.  The German government wanted to provide a few last years of comfort to the workers of its’ society.  Other countries adopted the same approach and 65 became the gold standard for retirement age and is still in effect.

How a person’s retirement is funded is impacted by the countries approach to funding retirement and is affected by cultures.  Most major countries provide a normal retirement age of 65.  The United States is graduating this age and the standard is now 67.  Social Security is a nice government program to assist with retirement, the original intent was for Social Security to be only a subsidy and not a full retirement plan.  It came into being during the Great Depression to insure the future generations would be taken care of in later life.  For many decades companies provided pensions for their employees.  This is quickly disappearing and programs such 401Ks are replacing pension funds.  Some countries have little or no subsidy programs for their aged workers.  In countries such as India laboring classes have a large number of children.  This is the worker’s pseudo retirement plan.  When the worker becomes old, the children will take care of the parents.  This is not uncommon in our own country.  In the early pioneer years of America large families guaranteed support for the parents when they became too old to work.

The important thing to remember when moving into retirement is to embrace life and enjoy the new chapter of life’s journey.  Make the world a little better while accomplishing new experiences.  Make the best of the situation and remember, you only live once but if you live right once is enough.

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