Beginning Life at 80

As I prepare for another birthday and ponder whether to start my Social Security checks (you get more per month if you wait), I’m considering the value of work for me.

Nobody gets to write their own ticket in life on death and infirmity, but the old ideas about retirement are obsolete in an era in which 70-year-olds run marathons.

With the job market reawakening in the machining world I think there will be a push to hire retired machinists for part-time and full-time positions.

Over the weekend I read an interview with James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA with Francis Crick in 1953. Watson is Director of Cold Spring Habor Laboratory and at 82 is determined to lick cancer in his lifetime. Watson believes it can be done if we fanatically follow the trails, which, though still unproductive, have taken us close to fantastic breakthroughs in cancer therapies.

So many pundits think the Baby Boomers are going to suck money out of the entitlement systems soon. I look for great contributions from them for the next 30 years.

Also on Sunday, Justice John Paul Stevens, who just retired from the U.S. Supreme Court at 90, published an essay voicing regrets about his vote many years ago to approve capital punishment. He feels that the way the ruling is being interpreted skews capital crimes toward non-whites, and he is trying to raise public opinion against the most severe decree.

It seems like the 80- and 90-year-olds have the potential to lead us to new high ground.

Question: Because of the greater longevity of Baby Boomers, should Social Security kick in at 68?

A clip from The Naked Gun staring Leslie Nielsen, who started doing comedy when he was 54.

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7 thoughts on “Beginning Life at 80

  1. AvatarfirstSTREET

    I agree with you completely. Like the examples you gave, there are so many individuals who reach the climax of their life’s work during their golden years. I think the youth-centric media doesn’t focus enough on these stories. Excellent post, I think it is very inspiring and representative of the Boomers as a whole.

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  2. AvatarJoe

    Interesting that you would mention contribution when I see decimation (greed) from the baby boomer generation all across the financial, housing and manufacturing sectors and a financially crippled federal government filled with workers from that generation. My generation X doesn’t stand a chance moving forward and I have purposefully steered my children (generation #4) away from the family manufacturing business. I will have to work until I’m dead and my heirs can turn out the lights and hang the for sale sign and why worry about social security I’d be better off betting the horses.

  3. AvatarJerry Johnson

    We paid into it on a mandatory basis, and are entitled to remove the $ under the terms and conditions set forth at that time.

    The real solution to the SS crisis? Have the Federal Government pay back all their IOUs in the SS lock box within the next 30 days. Next step would be to make it illegal for them to raid the lock box ever again.

    Most of the IOUs are ancient history with no definitive timeline for refunding (because in actuality, the Govt. never does plan on paying the money back).

    If they don’t pay it back, it’s called thievery. Jail time for the whole bunch would be an excellent deterrent. Whoops…………we’re not supposed to talk like that are we !!!

  4. AvatarKim

    Ok, Jerry, but the terms were set based on certain forecasts on life expectancy among other things. So as long as you die on time, it will be ok. The age has to be raised, now and in the future. I expect to work to an older age than previous generations, but I also expect to live a bit longer.

  5. AvatarKevin Meehan

    I would rather have the minimum age be pushed out than it go to means testing which is the likely outcome. You see, for too many, SS benefits at 62 or 65 is the finish line because they are unemployed or underemployed and have no retirement savings.


  6. AvatarSteve Baranyk

    The eligibility dates for Social Security and Medicare both should be adjusted to begin no sooner than 72. The question is, to which age cohort should this apply? I say everyone currently under 50. This will immediately solve the funding problems associated with these two programs. What it will also do is keep people like me (I am 71 and still going strong) working well into our 70s and perhaps our 80s on some basis (I work/bill about 300 hours per year) meaning I am paying in while drawing out.


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