Sustainable Retirement – What A Concept!

What is retirement really and when did the concept come into being?
Retirement? What's that?

So, awhile back I was listening to a podcast and the topic came up about what retirement really is and what it should be.

I think we have been sold a version of it that serves others more than ourselves. In the days of old when families lived in large houses with multiple generations and had a farm, growing their own food and making their own stuff, old people didn’t “retire” as we understand it today. They simply did less physically demanding stuff as their bodies got older.  Maybe they helped maintain the farm equipment, tended the garden or whatever they liked to do. The thing is, they were around to impart all their life’s knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations and not holed away in some retirement home somewhere and forgotten about. How did we get from there to where we are today? Well, all that aside, here is an excerpt from a guy in Canada who makes some very valid points I think…


The concept of retirement is a relatively new one. Not so long ago, when we were a more agrarian based society, few people ever retired. Their daily duties just changed. As we grew older, we would take over running the farm, and then we would maybe step back and let our kids do that.  Maybe we would take over maintenance of the equipment or something little less physically demanding, but required experience. Maybe we would help out more inside the home. But flat out retirement to travel south or play golf all day was the domain of the ultra rich. Even then, most tycoons were still wheeling and dealing well into their 60’s and beyond.

Nowadays. with retirement plans tanking and pension funds bleeding out, we may find ourselves without the ability to retire once again. However, this time, we won’t have the farm to feed us and the multi-generational home to keep us occupied and close to our loved ones. If we’re very fortunate, we may be able to find a spot in a retirement home and sell our current homes to pay for it.

Me, I have a different plan. My plan depends on me getting prepared to take care of myself and my wife for as long as we are physically able. If my plan works, we’ll also be able to ‘retire’ early. That plan is preparedness.

When you think about it, if you can provide most of your own food, utilities, and medicine and your shelter is bought and paid for, how much money do you really need? Enough to pay the property taxes, run your vehicle, and take care of emergencies. Maybe you need some money for a bit of travel as well. But not as much money as two people working for more than 40 hours a week each generate.

It’s not hard to imagine a household income of around $100,000 a year or about $73,000 after taxes. (Remember, I’m in Canada. Our dollars are about 80% of the USD.) Now, we know a lot of people are going to have mortgage payments around $1400 a month, utilities of at least $400 a month, TV and Internet for another $200 a month, $500 for food, $400 for various insurances, $200 for gas for the vehicles…it goes on and on…

This post continues but I think that gets the point across. Retirement isn’t necessarily the old couple walking along the beach somewhere that they show you on T.V. as an idealized image in order to sell you into whatever investment scheme they are pitching to you. Retirement is about finally doing what you want to do instead of what you are required to do by obligations set by a society based on consume, consume, consume. Buy it now, pay for it later with interest until you are buried in debt. Start working your way towards liberty today!


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