"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
I recently read a MarketWatch article, Retirees are confident, but workers can't retire, which essentially states that many of today's retirees will financially survive the Great Recession but "fears were palpable" among today's workers and non-retired people that they won't be able to retire until the age of 80.
This article is a case in point that the conventional idea of retirement is exactly the opposite of a healthy perspective. At a minimum the sentiment of the article, assuming it matches that of today's workers and non-retired people, is a reminder that the conventional idea of retirement essentially means "not working anymore." It also underscores the unhealthy conventional thinking that working in a job or succession of jobs you don't like (or even hate) for most of your life is a fact of life to be accepted, is a tragedy.
This thinking further supports the notion that retirement is considered a kind of escape from reality and may only be enabled by financial means: If you save well, you can get out of the rat race and live out your golden years relaxing, travelling and playing golf; however if you don't save well or you have been victimized by a terribly timed recession, you'll have to sacrifice another 10 or 15 years of your life to reach the Holy Grail of personal finance--retirement.
"Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy." ~ Lau-tzu
I can certainly see how "fears are palpable" for workers who are generally unhappy with their existence and the ultimate and hopefully permanent escape from this existence will occur at age 80--a long, long time from their current age. However, if younger people today--those significantly under the conventional retirement age of 65--want to find the means of early retirement they will consider career planning as an important aspect of retirement planning. In different words, find work that you enjoy and you won't want to "retire" by conventional means; you'll want to live a long life and keep doing things that are meaningful and rewarding.
This way, if retirement means "not working anymore," one would not want to hasten the conventional retirement age--health would become the highest priority (above money) and "working" until age 80 would be a blessing.
"Rat Race" Image by Polyp