Retirement is a Bad Idea (For Your Mind)

I strongly dislike German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. I know he has been dead for over 100 years, but the reason is simple. Retirement.

The idea of retirement did not exist until Chancellor Bismarck introduced it in 1883. Up to that point, people worked until they died. It seems like the system had worked for a few millenium, so why the switch? Why did they need to stop working? Isn't work good for you?

Bismarck did not create a law that made retirement mandatory, but instead he created the first welfare state to provide financial incentive to people that choose not to work. The thought process seems simple: not work and get paid, or work and get paid. 

What he did not factor into the equation was mental atrophy. One of the unintended consequences of retirement is when people cease to have mentally stimulating conversations, they begin to die.

In Germany, when people stopped working (and often learning), they saw a higher mortality rate. Their minds were no longer challenged.

For many people today, retirement is an age when they can put their mind into autopilot. All of their cares are erased. They are living the easy life. The problem is when you accept that mindset, your mind has already shut off from learning and started on a dangerous path towards mediocrity and average.

Retirement is not for me. I need to build. I need to create. I need to add value. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

I've met far too many people that talk about retirement as the finish line. They spend decades of there life working towards a time when they will probably have health issues and potentially failing mobility. In the process, they have lost the most important thing they will never get back. Time.

Instead of putting off living your life till you are retired, choose to live life today.

If you want to read more on this topic, here is an interesting article from the New York Times if you want to read more about the history of retirement.