There are several lies about retirement that are commonly believed today.
LIE # 1: Work has no value in and of itself.
Oh, how happy will be the day when I can finally turn my back on the contemptible activity we call work, sings the fool. He endures work only to live on the nights and weekends.
It’s a myth that we work only in order to live. In reality, we live in order to work. A life without those accomplishments that only work can bring is a life in need of constant professional psychiatric reassurance. Pope John Paul II echoes ancient Jewish wisdom when he suggests:
Work is a good thing for man–a good thing for his humanity–because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being. Work expresses his dignity and increases it: it provides him with the wherewithal to have a family, and it links him with his neighbor.
The retirement myth sadly encourages one to believe that we are only working until we ourselves no longer have any need to do so. It entirely negates the effect our efforts have on others.
LIE # 2: People become less productive and less useful as they age.
As I edge closer to retirement, each passing day must be robbing me of my money-making vitality.
This is a lie. Unless I am pounding another boxer in the ring or charging up a field with a football, each passing day makes me a more effective wealth creator. What actually makes us less productive is our own mindset.
By admitting the thought to our minds that “I am only 15 years away from retirement” or “I only have to work for 10 more years,” we effectively persuade ourselves that our strengths are diminishing and we are winding down our revenue-producing activities. In other words, with each passing day I am less and less useful to my fellow humans. Nothing could be further from the truth.
LIE # 3: People are merely consumers rather than creators.
Until you retire, you are occupying a slot at the food trough; the only decent thing to do after an appropriate interval is to move out of the way and let someone else get their opportunity to feed. In this scenario, retirement is the way we cycle people through the economy in as fair a way as possible.
Of course, if this were true, it would make no sense for any company to purchase any other company since the net sum of all that would be acquired is the responsibility to feed several hundred new mouths. When war has led one country to conquer and occupy another, it was not because the stronger country felt an altruistic impulse to feed millions of new citizens. In both cases, it is because smart leaders realize that the human being is the only creature on the planet with the capacity to create value that vastly exceeds its own needs.
~adapted from Never Retire by Rabbi Daniel Lapin in Whistleblower magazine–an excerpt from his book Thou Shall Prosper
the Rabbi’s web site here
That last lie really got my attention. Looking at the news in our country today, it’s obvious that more and more people are looking to the government to take care of them. What is so glaringly obvious is that a government cannot simply give to its people–it must first have an income so there something to give. How does the government prosper? By having a large number of people to tax. How are people able to pay taxes? By producing more than they consume!
So the only way to stimulate an economy is by encouraging people to produce more, not consume more. Any government who encourages consumption rather than work is destroying their country rather than building it.
We work, not primarily because we need the fruits that are produced by our work, but because there is intrinsic meaning and value in the work itself.
After all, the first thing God expected of Adam was to “work and take care of” the garden– Gen 2:15.