Work is a burden. Yup, I said it. Now I’m not completely crazy I understand the fact that we need to do some type of work to earn an income to support ourselves. However doesn’t it seem odd that we are expected to work for 40 to 45 years? Who came up with that nonsense. The New York Times does a pretty good job of laying out the history of retirement.
Considering early man worked until they died, or some were killed by their sons so they could inherit their father’s property we don’t have it quite so bad. In the Late 1800s a Germany Chancellor offered a pension to any nonworking German over the age of 65. Once small catch, most German’s didn’t live that long.
Than in the 1930s during the great depression Francis Everett Townsend proposed a plan that every person over 60 be paid $200 per month. Our than President Franklin D. Roosevelt, didn’t want the Government footing the bill and proposed the Social Security Act of 1935, which made workers pay for their own old-age insurance.
Retirees in the 1930s and 1940s really were kind of bored when not working. Over the decades as leisure activities increase and advancements in technology (television, film, travel) retirement got better. In 1958, the American Association of Retired Persons was established to help the growing population of retirees.
Now over the last 20 years or so the baby boomers are shifting the model a bit, threatening to never retire, partly in fact because they did entirely plan to well for it, or just want to continue working. This may have even force the American Association of Retired Persons to change its name in 1999 to just AARP.
In any case the fact that we haven’t seen any major change in the definition of retirement in over 80 years. I think we are due for a change.