Is Retirement Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance?

Retirement planning is like life insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against absolute worst-case scenario: in this case, becoming physically incapable of working and needing a reservoir of capital to survive…It is predicted on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a nonstarter – northing can justify that sacrifice.”

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, Page 31

Ouch! Harsh words on retirement from Tim Ferriss. However, there’s lots of truth in this statement especially when considering the genesis of retirement. In 1889, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck engineered a revolutionary social concept to appease the growing tide of Marxism and socialism: old-age pensions. Based on Bismarck’s idea, German Emperor William I wrote: “Those who are disabled from work by age and invalidity have a well-grounded claim to care from the state.”

The idea was that those who were “disabled from work by age” or who had reached the age of seventy could retire and receive the financial security and benefit of a safety net. Retirement was first intended for people who could not feasibly provide for themselves, more for necessity than for rest and relaxation, and seventy was a full twenty-five years beyond the average life span.

So, yes, originally retirement did look much like a worst-cast-scenario insurance policy. However, the idea of retirement has changed radically in the past century. The biggest problem today is that retirement is a destination. It was never meant to be this way. Life is meant to be lived — it’s about purpose, impact and experiences. That doesn’t begin or end at retirement, merely a continuation.

Engineer your retirement so it’s more than just a worst-case-scenario insurance policy.

Retired Repurposed Available on Apple Podcasts

Jerrid Sebesta

Co-Founder of Retire Repurposed

Co-Founder of Retire Repurposed Jerrid Sebesta