There are increasing articles (viz.: today’s Wall Street Journal) about how to retire in your 40s! Then there are the people who proudly proclaim, “I retired from teaching 25 years ago, at age 52!”
I give you Kant’s categorical imperative: What if everyone did that?
Good luck catching a cab, or finding a place to eat, or getting a dentist. The idea, it would seem to me, isn’t to take from society, imagining that after X years you’ve provided your requirement, but rather to continue to give. Please don’t tell me that a 40-something retirees are going to spend the next 40 years in pro bono work or charitable support, because they won’t be able to afford to do so. What they will be doing is taking advantage of societal benefits while hiking or boating or vegging.
We have an obligation to contribute. There’s nothing wrong about, or pejorative about, work. It’s noble business. If you don’t like your current work, change it, this is a zero-unemployment economy, so there’s something out there for you.
But don’t tell me that people—at any age—should expect to hang it all up as though the game is over and just sit in the sun. Do enough of that, and you’ll simply shrivel up.