Once upon a time when people retired

Outsider is keenly awaiting the day he can hand in his four weeks’ notice, hang up his boots, and hang around on his porch sipping a cup of tea, reading a newspaper and telling young children to get off his lawn.

But he is a realist: one glance at the 2015 Intergenerational Report and Outsider knew he has a few decades left in him yet. Alas, retirement is but a mirage at this point, and at least eight years away, especially if Outsider wants to maintain his current lifestyle, not to mention Mrs O’s. Besides, Mrs O would be beside herself if Outsider loitered around the house from eight to five.

So it amused Outsider to read two pieces of research, which revealed the naivete of young Gen Ys. An ING Direct study titled ‘The truth about Gen X and Gen Y’ revealed the majority of Gen Y plans to retire around age 51-60, while 33 per cent plan to retire early at 31-40 years. A finder.com.au study found 24 per cent of Australians considered retiring by 50 the most important goal.

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Let’s do some maths here. A Gen Y is between 17 and 36 years of age today. They are projected to live until anywhere between 91 and 94 years, while some might hit the century. That could mean 54 years in retirement! 

I suppose Outsider’s generation will have to provide for their children for a while yet, what with their penchant for daily smashed avocadoes, coffees, and retirement. 

As Gen Ys anticipate making a career out of retirement while Outsider continues his career while dreaming of retirement, perhaps someone should jolt this cohort into reality: ‘retirement’ will be but a concept showcased at museums by the time they get around to thinking about it.

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