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Poor People Don’t Retire

A few years ago I had a lightbulb moment when I realized something about aging.  I was standing outside of Costco waiting for it to open (because that’s the only reasonable time to go to Costco) with a good-sized group of retired folks.  I was standing there looking at all these people and thought to myself “See, I don’t really need to lose weight right now because everyone gets thin when they get old.”

I’m sorry… what?!

Everyone gets thin when they get old?  What kind of thinking is that?  Then I realized “Whoa!  People don’t get thin when they get old.  People who aren’t thin just don’t get old.  Fat people don’t get old.”

That was a huge slap in the face for me.  I had been carrying around this underlying unquestioned idea that somehow when you got old you magically got thin.  It really had never occurred to me that, for the most part, fat people don’t get old.  That’s why you don’t see very many fat old people.

That correction in my thinking made me get a lot more serious about my health.

Then I flipped it around to see what I could learn from this in other areas… areas like finance. Maybe this explains some people’s reluctance to save for retirement?  I bet there are people out there who believe that somehow getting old makes you rich, just like I thought getting old somehow made you skinny.  So I’m here to challenge that thinking.

Poor people don’t retire!

Yes, most of the retired people you see out and about have money.  They have money because they saved money during their working lifetimes.  You don’t see poor retired people because they can’t afford to go out.  You don’t see them at the mall or at restaurants because they can’t afford those places.  You don’t see them out being retired because they are still working.

Retiring doesn’t make you rich or thin.  It’s the other way around.  Being rich and thin will allow you to retire.  If you are rich and fat you might not live to retirement.  If you are poor and skinny you won’t be able to afford to retire.

You kind of have to work on both now so that someday you can have the retirement of your dreams.

 

8 comments… add one

  • Tabitha August 13, 2012, 4:36 pm

    HA! Wow!! So true!!
    I love thinking about things in a new way and this one is a doozy!
    It’s not that you get thin as you age–it’s that the thin people live longer!
    I love your point about retirement and we live near several ritzy retirement communities and see a lot of well-off older people every where we go, eating out, golfing, shopping, etc. They worked hard, saved up and are enjoying themselves! I want that!!!! :)
    Great post, thanks for sharing your insight!
    P.S. Saw you mentioned by Anne M. (she’s so great!) and had to come read your latest–I’m glad I did!

  • krantcents August 13, 2012, 4:40 pm

    You cannot ignore your health because you will pay dearly as you get older. The same statement regarding finances is equally true. I recently had a physical and my doctor told me I am like a 35 year old physically! Not bad since I am 65 years old. i have been saving all my life to retire early and did that at 38 years old. I returned to work and will retire again at 70 years old.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar August 14, 2012, 6:03 am

    Or you do retire on social security or disability alone and you can’t afford to shop at Costco!

  • Gina August 19, 2012, 6:42 am

    These are really thrifty Seniors either :
    a They are getting their prescriptions filled at Costco, cause they can WITHOUT

  • Gina August 19, 2012, 6:45 am

    These are really thrifty Seniors… Maybe….
    They are getting their prescriptions filled at Costco, cause they can WITHOUT the $50.00 membership and the prices are lower.

    They are going to get all the free food samples and calling it “breakfast”

  • @canmort August 19, 2012, 7:40 pm

    I really wonder if we should try to retire.
    In reality we just change our job and title in the name of retirement. Being poor or rich does not change that fact.
    I was just thinking out loud about your post..

  • Mike August 22, 2012, 8:26 am

    I had this exact moment myself lately. It is all about wealth and health! My goal is to be semi-retired by my mid 50′s. It would be great to only work 25 hours a week and spend Summer’s at the lake house in Maine. Forget having the big house, the fancy cars, and nice clothes. Save, save, save!!!! None of that stuff really matters. I will only spend money on life experiences and entertainment.

  • TB at BlueCollarWorkman September 5, 2012, 12:59 pm

    What’s funny that as I’m reading along, I’m going along with your logic. Yep, makes sense, you get skinny as you get old. Yep, yep. And then you hit your next logic point of “fat people dont’ get old!” and then wham! It hit me like it hit you! Same with the retirement thing! Man, thanks for the wake up!!

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