I think part of the point is to find a avocation that is not stressful, you enjoy, and can do a long time. That may be worth more than money.
This is usually related to the kind of job you are doing.
My mother was cleaning schools and that is a killer for the back. Being retired, she takes long walks and keeps herself active and healthy.
But when I was studying I saw quite old teachers still active, and happy. But that's a different kind of job with different effects on your health.
> I think part of the point is to find a [a]vocation that is not stressful, you enjoy, and can do a long time.
I agree. If you are lucky enough to get a job that fulfills you, then continuing working can be a good thing. That's why we can't just delay retirement age, but we need to take into account personal circumstances.
A not stressful and enjoyable work also helps you to keep your good health for longer, so you get in better shape to old age.
One of the best professions I can think of retiring in is probably academia... I've worked/studied/socialized with professors very much older than me, and they seem to continue to enjoy teaching/talking to students despite their age.
In 25 years they'll still have 25-30 years of work left in their lives, and by then most of them won't have received any significant reschooling, and they will still be competing in a tech world, where 10 years ago there wasn't a thing called smartphones.
Some of them will do just fine. I know a lot of old programmers, but I also know a lot of former older IT employees who are spending their 60ies in the unemployment lines.
Moral of the story:
Be an Engineer, not a Programmer.
Be Valuable, not Replaceable.
If you don't care about having a wife or kids you can easily retire forever after 10-15 years of work in SV or NYC.
(I could go on for a while here)
It's not only perfectly possible, it's not particularly difficult.
In 10-15 years in SV/NY you can earn $1MM after tax + growth and then move to a lower COL city/town and take it easy.
I'm living in a studio, have a parking spot, walk to work and go out with my coworkers/friends after work.
What am I missing out on?
NYC is even worse - lop another thousand off and pay even more to live.
Then, if you invest $46k a year for 15 years at a real return of 4% you end up with ~$943k in present day dollars which is right around what the parent was saying.
Not to mention $140k total compensation is relatively low for a senior dev in SF/NYC, you will likely be making a lot more 10 years in.
You can definitely sock away enough even without a 4% rate of growth to put away $1MM of after-tax money in 10-15 years, if you're smart with your money.
I've worked in public service all my life and I took a master degree in business and leadership which was paid by my employeer. Which moved me from engineering to management.
When I see my old study buddies, who all work privately, none of them have gotten any form of reeducation and very few have kept up with the tech.
I'm sure most of them could learn the new buzzwords if they wanted to, but who would hire them until they do when you could simply pick a fresh candidate with newer CS knowledge, all the buzz and a lower pay requirement?
People switching careers at 40 or 50 aren't going to be established and have tenure after a few years in academia.
Mostly dealing with octogenarians+ whom I know; the more active you are (more so socially, as well as physically) the better off you are at living a long and healthy life. Having a routine like a job sets also seems to help human psyche. Your point about vocation that is not stressful, enjoyable, and is lasting satisfies all these requirements.
That's from both sides of the pond.
So there are upsides and down sides to work/retirement thing. The best you can do is academia or a retirement spent learning new things.
My dad retired at 55 as his health began to decline. He's still alive at 78, and there's no way he would have lived this long if he didn't retire when he did.
Retirement should be a focus for these types of activities. Things like tending a small garden, or playing with grandchildren.
My father is 65, my mother in law is 59, and my father in law is late 50s (my mother passed away recently at 59). All three of them must still work full time because they can't afford to retire, preventing them from helping with our 1 year old (causing us to have a limited support system, which I supplement with a part time nanny).
But heh, GDP!
Free treatment for everything. That does help a lot when you get old, starting with all the minor problems happening with an aging body, and concluding with the last few years where you could literally be kept alive despite a critical condition requiring constant care, all paid in full by the tax payer.