Labor & Leisure

Labor Day heralds the end of summer vocations.  Now the Fall begins and it’s back to work.  For students and teachers like me, it has always meant getting serious again and going back to the classrooms for another school year.

This year, for me, the holiday is hitting me in a completely different way since I am retiring.  All summer I have been madly busy finishing up my job, so Labor Day is heralding the beginning of my not laboring, at least in the same way I have all of my life. [Read more...]

Retirees following the grandchildren?

As I said, we are retiring and have moved to be close to grandchildren.  The thing is, virtually everyone I know in my generation who has retired or who is planning to retire is doing the same thing.

My parents didn’t move to be closer to us when they retired.  They remained the family anchors, and during the holidays it was over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.  And they were certainly good grandparents.

Is moving to be nearer one’s adult children and grandchildren a trend, or just my limited sampling and personal experience?  If it’s a new trend, how do you account for it?  I’ll offer some of my theories after the jump. [Read more...]

Unburden’d crawl toward death

’tis our fast intent

To shake all cares and business from our age,

Conferring them on younger strengths while we

Unburden’d crawl toward death.

(Shakespeare, King Lear, Act I. scene 1. lines 38-41)

Have any greater lines ever been written about retirement?  OK, it didn’t work out very well for King Lear.  I’m hoping that it will work out better for me.  Like Lear, I have two daughters that I hope to spend more time with.  I’m hoping they won’t turn me out into the storm, though I’ll be moving to a land of thunderstorms.  Unlike Lear, I have a wife who is good company and a whole passel of grandchildren.

[Read more...]

The pension black hole

Despite its wealthy Silicon Valley population, the city of San Jose, California, is broke and is having to slash city services, from fixing potholes to running libraries.  This is because the city has to devote 25% of its revenue to pay pensions for retired city workers, which, thanks to union negotiators, is as much as 90% of their salaries.

Something like this is happening in lots of cities and may herald a national crisis to come. [Read more...]

Policy lessons from the Beatles

The Beatles are hailed as icons of the Sixties counter-culture.  But in a lot of ways they were quite conservative.  Economics columnist Neil Irwin looks at their song lyrics and how they handled their money, drawing out what we can learn from the Beatles about taxes, retirement, and change. [Read more...]

Hitting retirement age

When you are young, you want to get older, looking forward to milestone birthdays–16 (I can drive!); 18 (I can vote!); 21 (I can drink!). After that, you don’t particularly want to get older, and the milestones acquire a negative connotation–30 (hippies won’t trust me!); 40 (but what have I accomplished?); 50 (welcome to the middle ages); 60 (I’m old!). But then comes a short span of time in which you want to get older, with retirement-related milestones–62 (I could take early retirement!), 65 (I would qualify for free health insurance with Medicare!), 66 (I could take the full Social Security benefits!). After that, I suppose, is the milestone that we don’t know when it is coming, when we really get to rest from our labors.

So today I am technically old enough to retire! That gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. Not that I am going to retire. That’s not the point. It’s just that I could. After the jump, some retirement-related questions for general discussion. [Read more...]