How often do we hear this old story. Guy makes all these plans for his retirement and dies suddenly soon after he finally retires. I man I know just retired at 57 with a good pension, one of those traditional full retirement packages few people get anymore. He'd just had a physical and received a clean bill of health. About a month after his retirement, he dies from a massive heart attack.
What is it that causes so many people to pass away just when they seem about to pursue their dreams?
Stress is probably a factor. We can feel stressed out even when good things happen. Change is stressful, especially when you haven't had to do much of it. Take your typical working stiff who slaves away for years doing the same old job. Releasing them in the wild is a stressful experience. Their days might have been good or might have sucked, but they did have structure. People's identity is closely tied up with their job. Retirement takes that bit of identity away.
I'm guessing that in the future there will be fewer people dying from post retirement stress. How's that? Simple, traditional retirement appears to be going away pretty quickly. Many people will never get to really retire. No retirement, no retirement stress.
Of course, there's the stress of never being able to retire, but that's a different subject for another day.
Then there will be all those people who never really get to settle in a job. How many people work like this: a few years here, a few months there, are unemployed for a while, then a few more months in a different field of work entirely. More and more people's work life is constantly changing. There's no time to get stuck in a rut. That kind of life can be stressful too, but a person who adapts successfully to it has nothing to fear from retirement. It's just one more change in a life of many changes. They've adapted. (or died young, thus avoiding the whole retirement death scenario completely)
There are some people embracing the hit or miss nature of work. I've friends who work seasonally and can't wait for their annual layoff. That's when they get to pursue their own passions. Of course, they've learned to live on a lot less money than most people. In spite of that, their lives are full of rich experiences.
Beats the heck out of leaving a rich widow.
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