When Social Security was introduced in 1935, the concept of “retirement” was essentially new. It was a bold move to protect older people, many of whom did backbreaking manual labor and needed a way to stop working.

The U.S. government knew that most workers wouldn’t even make it to age 62 and, therefore, would never collect benefits at 65. Plus, there was the added motivation of moving older workers out of the labor market to make room for the young.

Fast-forward twenty years, and white-collar workers of the 1950s still hadn’t taken to the idea of retirement, despite the fact that they were flush with cash from generous corporate pensions. At the time, people defined themselves by what they produced and contributed, a very different mindset from our current hyper-consumer culture.

In the late 1950s, marketers – including the founders of the new American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Del Webb, who started the very first retirement community in Arizona – started to rebrand “retirement” as the golden years. And that’s how our current conception of what you’re supposed to do in your mid-60s happened.

Fast-forward another 20 years to the creation of the 401(k) in 1978, which caused corporate pensions to largely disappeared. We became responsible for our own retirement savings, which made our investments vulnerable to multiple financial crises and other life circumstances.

So basically our modern idea of retirement was created by marketers based on a temporary set of circumstances that hasn’t existed in over four decades. And now, Generation X may be the first group that can’t afford to retire en masse in our 60s, even as we feel that’s what we’re entitled to do.

But is it really a tragedy, given that the entire concept of retirement had to be sold to who we now call “knowledge workers” in the first place? Plus, the expected time frame to stop working simply doesn’t make sense now that we’re living much longer and healthier lives than people did in the 1950s.

It’s easy to see the unraveling of traditional retirement as Gen X getting screwed over once again. What I’m proposing is to look at it differently, and defiantly.

Keep going-

Shawn Morrow

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Counting Calories

Your age — among several other factors — can have a big effect on how many calories you need to maintain your body’s weight and basic functions. Here’s what to know.

How Do My Calorie Needs Change as I Age? (New York Times)

Hitting 💯

People who live to the age of 100 are the fastest-growing demographic group of the world’s population, with numbers roughly doubling every ten years since the 1970s. Researchers have found that those who make it to their hundredth birthday tend to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine, and uric acid from their sixties onwards.

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