Greetings grey-power-people! Here is an excerpt from the book Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive, by David Bogan & Keith Davies, published by Harper Collins in 2007 and reprinted twice during that year.
‘…since you were born you’ve been marking time before you enter the dock for society to pronounce sentence: You have been found guilty of working hard all your life. You will now pay for that. You are sentenced to live out the rest of your days in a truly worthless existence. We’ll find you a little box to call home, where you will be expected to do less and eat less. And if you get sick we’ll soak up any savings you might have then put you at the back of the queue, behind all the other old and worthless people’.
Bogan and Davies want us to remove the word ‘retirement’ from our vocabulary. As the blurb on the cover claims: ‘Retirement is a dumb idea with no place in modern society. It’s absurd, and economically unviable’.
This book imparts a history of retirement. It explains how ‘retirement’ came to be ‘invented’ and explains the great ‘retirement fund scam’. It tells us why our private retirement fund was never going to be any more viable than a government pension. Globally, retirement is no longer sustainable. We ‘discarded persons’ can no longer rely on governments, pension schemes and subsidised health care to help us out. And this situation will not improve, it will get worse.
As the writers point out – it’s the people who can afford to retire that don’t; and the ones who cannot afford to who do. The likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett don’t retire. They don’t because they choose to keep going. And that’s the point – if we work for somebody else we are usually forced to retire at a given age. And that is ruining the world’s economy.
The book tells us about the many companies, over 80 in the UK including B&Q, Sainsbury’s and Kappa Packaging that now have a policy of employing a large percentage of people aged 50 and above. Why? Because they turn up on time, they are interested in their job, they have years of valuable experience, they have better customer relation skills, they take fewer sick days off, and they don’t steal from their employers. Interesting, isn’t it?
There is also a physical reason why human beings should not retire. Our brains are hard-wired for survival; survival is in our DNA and retirement is diametrically opposed to that innate instinct. Yet, from our first day at work we accept the crazy notion that at age 55 or 60 or whatever, we shall stop working and purchase our ‘last car’ to ‘see us out’ while we rot away in God’s waiting room!
Instead of working on in some capacity and remaining a part of the wider community, we accept somebody else’s arbitrary decision to undermine our right to control our own lives, to contribute to society and our own well-being. We have been brain-washed, and even made to feel guilty when we are told that we need to make way for younger people – when the world is actually running out of younger people. Wherever we go in the Western world, we are told, the ageing Baby Boomers make up a third of the population. In the UK there are 20 million people over the age of 50 – in NZ, soon 25% of its population will be over 65 – Australia has 4 ½ million Baby Boomers. By the year 2030 there will be 324,000 people over the age of 100 in theUSA.
Having explained the economics of why grey-power people are in such a bind, the authors explain how we can get ourselves out of it. There is no set plan, simply a sensible guide, and a few examples from other people who have decided not to retire or shut-up-and-die.
Unfortunately this book is patronisingly simplistic, repetitive, and irritatingly chummy. It’s right off the self-help shelf that you don’t waste a glance on as you pass by in the bookshop. My borrowed copy was dropped off by a friend and it was only the title which prompted me to riffle through it. But it is worth a read for the facts and figures, the history, its many quotations, and especially the economics of the con-job that retirement is.
Visit www.avoidretirement.com to see what Bogan and Davies have to say, read extracts and/or order their book – which is published inAustralia andNew Zealand.