4 Retirement Myths About When And Why You Should Retire

Retirement myths that cause people to retire too soon

Older woman still working
•••  Emanuele Cremaschi / Getty Images

In the book Die Broke, the authors propose that retirement is not something we should all strive to do; rather it is a myth, a relatively new concept to society that is promoted by the following four misconceptions.

Retirement Myth #1 - Age 65 Is Old

Age 65 is no longer the onset of old age; instead, it is the beginning of middle age. Thanks to advances in health and nutrition people can have active, productive lifestyles that will stretch far beyond age 65.

One critical key to staying young: keeping your mind active and engaged.

“Brains like problems. They like something to puzzle over and figure out. Brains love making new connections and learning. It keeps them healthy. Be sure to make your brain happy in retirement. Avoid routine and keep the brain supplied with new and challenging thoughts. From puzzles to learning new skills, more and more research shows that brain aging depends on constant intellectual stimulation for the brain. Take some courses, learn new things and stay smart.”

If you truly plan to retire, you must find a way to exercise your mind. Proponents of the Die Broke theory would suggest that the best way to keep the brain active and engaged is to avoid retirement altogether. Personally, I agree.

Rather than plan my brain’s daily activities, in day-care like fashion, I’d rather engage it in income producing activities for as long as I can.

Retirement Myth # 2 - Leisure Is More Fulfilling Than Work

Many who shift suddenly from work to leisure become ill; both physically and psychologically. To avoid this negative side effect of retirement, experts propose shifting your lifestyle to a mix of work and play, by alternating periods of time off with periods of work.

For suggestions on how to do this read:

In Die Broke, the book suggests you approach your job with a mercenary like attitude, with skills auctioned off to the highest bidder. This means you would constantly be looking for a better job, work the minimum hours necessary to do be a competent employee, and use your income and time off to pursue meaningful interests outside of work. This, they propose, is a more practical approach to the alternative of looking for fulfillment and satisfaction on the job.

Although the mercenary approach is appealing to the pocketbook, I think if you find work you truly enjoy, it will add years to your work life.

One approach: look at your career as another asset on your net worth statement. In this way, you can make smarter decisions about the best way to employ that asset

Retirement Myth #3 - Older People Need to Make Room For the Next Generation

The idea of retirement came about in the early 1900’s. The Government was trying to figure out how to get the abundance of young, unemployed workers off the streets and into jobs. The concept of retirement and the initiation of our social security program helped this cause.

Today, there are fewer skilled workers entering the workplace than leaving. Employers fear the loss of knowledge that would occur if everyone of retirement age actually chose to retire.

Retirement Myth #4 - People Over 65 Are Worse Workers Than Young People

Older workers make fewer mistakes, have fewer absences, and to top things off, they’ve got wisdom. They know where their efforts will make the most difference.

Many reports show that older workers are more productive and less likely to be absent than their younger counterparts. Your skills and knowledge are needed. If you want to use them, there will be plenty of opportunities.