It’s Time to Rethink Retirement

We can keep making a contribution

Darius Foroux
4 min readAug 16, 2022

Here’s what the structure of modern life looks like for most. In the early years of a child, the focus is on learning and playing.

Once the playing is done, a teen starts their educational career. Then start a career. And save up for retirement. Those are the three main stages of life as we know it: Study, work, then retire.

It might look like these stages are natural to human life, but that’s a wrong assumption. These stages are, like most things in modern-life, made up.

This structure was created in the 19th century, when the Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck implemented the first national old-age social insurance plan in 1889.

At the time, the world was going through the industrial revolution, and sending your kids off to school was just starting to become the norm. Bismarck’s government was trying to give more jobs to the unemployed youth by retiring workers aged 70 and above.

The sociologist and economist Mauro Guillen wrote a book called 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future, where he touches on the stages of life.

The book, published in August 2020, and written before the pandemic, is an interesting take on where current trends might be going. Guillen writes:

“It’s astonishing to realize that for the longest time the government, the law, and even mainstream culture have told us that people above a certain age can no longer make genuine contributions to society and the economy. People above sixty-five (or some other arbitrary number) were deemed to be part of the “passive” population, neither takers nor givers.”

While the concept of retirement during the 19th century — where jobs are inherently hazardous and workers have no way of creating a nest egg for the future — is innovative; this mindset no longer applies today’s life.

Human beings tend to live longer now. And we’ve begun to desire meaningful work more. 9 out of 10 people would rather take more meaningful jobs even if that meant earning less. Besides, today’s technology is quickly replacing tedious jobs with AI.

Darius Foroux

I write about personal finance, productivity, habits. My best-selling course, Procrastinate Zero 2, is open for registration NOW: