Retirement in modern America

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by Eleanor Arnason • 9/28/08 • I just asked Patrick why he sighed. He said he was reading a small article. The number of employed people who are over 65 doubled from 1977 to 2007; and the number of those people who work full time rose from 44% to 56% from 1995 to the present.

I am 65. You don’t have the energy you had at 25 or 35 or 45. And if you are working a physical job, you probably go home very tired.

You know you are running out of time. Whatever you want to do and experience has to happen soon. Even if you are healthy now, you can see poor health and death ahead of you. If you ever had dreams, you need to act on them. They may not be big dreams — more time in the garden, more time with the family, just some rest, a book, an afternoon nap.

You are probably not working full time for entertainment and a little pocket money. You are doing it to pay the bills.

This is the breakdown of the union movement and the good company pensions. This is the evil cost of health care and medications.

I read somewhere that people are usually healthy until 75. After that, your chances of having serious health problems rise. So we are looking at many Americans working until they become sick, and then beginning the slow process of dying in discomfort.

You work 44+ years and what do you get? The need to keep working, till you are too sick to work. And then you die, and capitalism cruises on.

The US is about to spend $700 billion dollars on bailing out Wall Street, while many older people have just seen their hopes of retirement vanish, as their homes and investments (if any) lose value.