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The map of life used to be simple: work to 65 and then retire to indulge in pastimes as a reward for a life of productive work. This was born in a world of factories and heavy physical work more suited to the young. That is no longer the case for most of us. In the US, such work (commonly called blue collar work) accounts for less than 15% of the workforce. In many jobs we can be as (or more effective) at 70 as at 35. Certainly more experienced. And yet, we still apply the same mental model. Why?
What we’re basically doing is time shifting – working hard now to save money so that we don’t have to work later. Are we not somehow living for the future rather than today? And what if that later never comes? My own dad died aged 44 after a long battle with cancer so would clearly have benefitted from a different approach. He had dreams of travel in later life that were never fulfilled. No one approach will suit us all and having that pension pot set aside is absolute reassurance in case of illness later in life means we can’t work so much. And yet my dad’s story shows that illness can hit at any age. It just makes you think, doesn’t it?