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Should People Have to Work Their Whole Life Only to Retire Later and Live Out Their Twilight Years?

It’s pretty much every person’s goal to work hard, make a decent amount of money, and retire comfortably so they can live out their later years in style.

And that’s the reality for almost every person out there unless you happened to be born into a family that has a lot of wealth and money just isn’t an issue.

But for the rest of us, the reality is that we’ll work most of our lives and then enjoy a little bit of free time at the end where we’re free to do as we please…I guess it is kind of depressing when you think of it that way.

And one young person who is only 18 took issue with this hard, cold fact of life.

Nobody should have to work 1/3rd of their lives, for over 40 years, to retire at ~60 just to finish off whatever is left of their lives. from unpopularopinion

How do other people feel about this?

Let’s see what people on Reddit said.

1. Do it while you’re young.

“I saw my father work himself to the bone for my entire childhood. Forty years in the same line of work, including night shift for the final ten years.

I was the youngest of three kids and when I got my first job out of college, he retired three weeks after I started. The way he saw it, his work was finished, and he was right. He had 8 years of retirement, but he only had some semblance of health for about 2 of those before it started to really degrade. The final years of his life were spent in pain. He died last year.

Retirement is wasted on the elderly. If there’s something you really want to do before you die, do it while you’re still young and while doors haven’t closed for you.”

2. Find a job you like.

“It’s a bad feeling that I think most people deal with at one time or another. The best bet is going for a job you will legitimately enjoy.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue your dreams of Hollywood and it will totally work out kind of sh*t (not saying don’t but be realistic about it) but something you can derive legitimate joy out of even if it makes a bit less than other professions.”

3. Make the most of it.

“It’s natural for people to feel like this at some point in their lives. Everyone deals with it in their own way, here’s mine:

Most people will have to spend 40-50 years working a job they tolerate at best, followed by 10-30 years of retirement depending on how lucky and healthy you are. That sucks. But where did we get the idea that life is supposed to be all flowers and rainbows most of the time? Or even some of the time?

People in early civilizations didn’t have the option to retire at all. They simply fought for survival every day until they got sick, or injured, or couldn’t find enough food, or got hit by bad weather.

The fact that we even have an option to retire eventually is a huge improvement on societies that came before us. And our quality of life in the meantime would be unfathomable by people who lived even ~150 years ago.

The idea that we should all be entitled to live most of our lives on vacation while we travel the world is very new. Don’t get me wrong, that would be a great way to live if society could pull it off.

But life, inherently, is not a vacation, it’s just trying to survive as long as you can and make the most of the cards you’re dealt until you die.”

4. Don’t tie yourself down.

“My number one tip for someone who feels this way is to try minimize tying your self down financially. Avoid loans and other things that won’t allow you to stop working when you feel like it.

At least that way if you want to pull the pin and have a month or so off work, you aren’t in a position where you NEED to go to work to pay those debts.

I made this mistake many years ago with a car loan and I ended up hating my dream car because it took away my freedom from the daily grind.”

5. Here’s a story…

“I had a coworker real nice man. Has worked at our company for a little over 30 years.

In those 30 years the man almost never took time off, worked diligently for 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 30 years. So much so that he accrued enough personal days and vacation days to retire exactly one year early. 30 years of hard work for one extra year doesn’t seem balanced to me but anyway.

The man is about a year year and a half away from his year of paid time off before retirement, COVID hits. The guy who’s older and also type 2 diabetic ends up testing positive due to being an essential worker and one of his coworkers getting, literally just for going to work.

After that they then decide to fire our entire department due to budget cuts. So that mans 30 years of diligent work got him nothing. How depressing is that?”

6. Perfectly fine

“I have the same exact mindset as you. Thankfully I started my own business and currently am set to make about 60k a year working 20-30 hours a week on average.

I know many people in my industry that also own there business but work 40-50 hours. They just love working and will make more then me. I am perfectly fine with that. I see my wife more, play with my dogs everyday, and get to enjoy my hobbies for several hours as well.

When I have kids I won’t need to spend enormous amounts on child care. My typical day starts at 6-7 and ends at 10-11. Repairs add time to my week but they also are like little bonuses.

I watched/am watching my mom work 10+ hours a day like it’s a drug. She would have a medical procedure done that the doctor would ask her to take 3-4 days off and she just couldn’t do it. She would just bring the work home.

After watching that life growing up I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.”

7. Dad.

“My dad works a lot, like 50% of his day (including sleep) and he’s looking at retiring at 67. It’s so unfair. Nobody works harder than he does.

He also spends a lot of his “free” time taking care of me and my sister (we are both disabled and need help with some things) and doing chores.

I feel so bad for him. If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’ll do is give my parents enough money for my dad to retire early.”

8. Don’t do sh*t.

“In the words of Lawrence from Office Space: “You don’t need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he’s broke, don’t do sh*t.”

You’re perfectly free to work as little as you like. Just don’t expect to have much money.

I had a buddy at my first job who was in his 40s, rented a room in a house with a few other dudes, worked like 3 days a week for 8 or so hours and didn’t care to work much more than that. He was fine being broke.

He liked to fish so it was pretty inexpensive for him to pursue his dream of sitting in a canoe in a pond or standing by the river.”

9. Are things changing?

“This is why work will drastically change in the next years. You can see a dramatic change in the values of the generations.

Young people will not accept more work for more money. They focus on having a good time without having to worry tooo much about money, but not being rich is not an issue for them.

Now you could say… “Meh”, but I say… Today young generations are the bosses of tomorrow. You can see the ideas of 4 working days a week and so on, spreading up.

Work life will improve. Still there will be a huge problem with the very heavy jobs, which will probably get worse.”

10. I agree in principle…

“In principle I agree – but there are things that get in the way of that.

Firstly – the option to have a good work life balance, and be able to enjoy a comfortable life around your job, is a middle class luxury. If you’re on minimum wage (which a lot of people are) then you will have a choice of working 40+ hours a week for 40 years, or you will struggle to pay for a place to live and food to eat, not just for you but your family. If you have a solid job/pension plan you also don’t need to worry about being poor in your old age.

Secondly – working a lot gets you money to do cool stuff. Your boring factory job might not be very interesting, but it means every other weekend you can afford to go windsurfing or eat out lots, or go on epic holidays.

Thirdly – I think this might be a cultural thing. There’s a common saying that Europeans work to live, while Americans live to work. If you’re lucky you can find a comfortable professional job which gives you a good amount of time off, flexible hours, and a decent wage to spend when you’re not working.”

11. Try to make it work for you.

“You definitely don’t have to live that way.

If you want a different lifestyle you should absolutely go for it. Want to work part-time only? Work from home? Freelance?

There are options out there, and the economy is shifting more and more away from the 40hrs/wk for years at company X and then retire.”

12. History lesson.

“The nuances of Macro-Economics are often difficult to understand but we do not have a society built for allowing many people to not work and continue on our path of advancement but the current system we (The West) have is the best implemented so far.

Throughout the course of human history, we’re at the best it has ever been. There is no child labor. There is no slavery. There are no [serfs]. There are labor laws protecting workers. There are programs where work will help you pay for medical expenses. You can get sick and not die before you’re 35.

It’s not unreasonable to actually own your own home if you save your money and get a degree/trade license to continue a career path. I think it’s great that people are striving for more, but human progress is slow relative to our life times and there are consequences to moving too fast.

So until we develop a society that can run on the average person working less, this is what is normal and, relatively speaking, it’s a good life.”

13. An unfair, chaotic journey.

“It’s also attitude.

My very first job which was McDonald’s was incredibly shameful experience for me at first. No one except my family knew.

After a while I ve met incredible people living insane lifestyles. Immigrants from all over the world starting over, college kids. The general mix of adults and kids, dreams and reality crushed into dystopian nightmare of food factory(its not a restaurant lol).

… I took so much from it. 43 y old lady with daughter divorced abusive husband, moved to another country, she had a degree and was a qualified teacher but had to start over and started in McDonald’s . Never have I not seen her smiling or enjoying her time, like as if good decisions eventually out weight the bad ones. She eventually got another degree and is working as a social worker.

Life is not about purpose itself. Job that gives you enjoyment will not always be the best experience of your life. We go from bottom to the top in emotional journeys and our experiences build us and our character.

Personally I found great release in nihilism. For example, As long as you don’t become cynical it’s great to understand that nothing holds a real value until that value is uphold by us. Whether finding enjoyable workplace holds great value to you is not indicator that it should for other people.

Not everyone has a privilege of choice and choices can be also biased due to personal stuff. For example not every son of a soldier will want to be in a military but they might go there and fit, possibly even enjoy themselves in a scenario that is opposite of fun and enjoyment as pretty much government killer for hire.

Working gives us resources, resources gives us possibilities. For each young person it’s important to understand u can’t not multiply resources like money if u have none or so little that it doesn’t matter. The more u have the more u can multiply.

Life is an unfair chaotic journey that is much more complex and amazing then any book movie or game.”

14. Worried about Mom…

“This bothers me too but more because of my mum than anything else. She’s nearly sixty and still ten years from retiring.

She’s got arthritis which makes driving difficult then she spends all day on her feet to come home so knackered she can’t do anything.

When is she going to have time or ability to do stuff she enjoys?”

How do you feel about this?

Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.

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