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Retirees: Get Out of the Way April 5, 2007

Posted by federalist in Retirement.

I’m not a big fan of the concept of retirement, but a question for those who subscribe to the lifestyle: Why don’t you get out of the way?  (And I mean that in the most gracious possible tone.)

Except perhaps for proximity to family, there is no reason for retirees to be clogging urban arteries and hogging real estate that is close to job centers or desirable schools.  Is this simply a problem of inertia, or transaction costs?  Aren’t the savings that can be gained by moving to a lower cost-of-living area sufficient to subsidize these costs?

Can’t retirees stay away from banks around lunchtime and stores on weekends?  I.e., given that workers are largely constrained from commerce during working hours, can’t the retirees get out of the way during non-working hours?  What incentivizes retirees to pay (and add to) the extra queuing costs during these high-demand periods when they can have things all to themselves any other time?

WSJ has a few articles that reveal some attractive alternatives for the fully-retired:

1. Lifestyle communities — where people dedicated to a hobby like golfing, racing, or shooting, join with like-minded fanatics to pursue their interests with zeal.

2. Overseas retirement — where people are discovering you can live in a better climate and get a lot more bang-for-your-buck.  (E.g., even first-rate healthcare is often ten times cheaper than in developed countries.)



1. federalist - August 8, 2007

A Modest Proposal” with a stronger argument:

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the planet if human beings voluntarily jumped ship once they’d passed the peak of their usefulness? What? Does this sound like the ravings of a oldster-hater? No – I’m just being practical. I’m being environmentally conscious. I don’t hate old people, I just hate that people make the choice to get old and become a burden to society and the environment when they could be sacrificing themselves for the good of the planet instead.

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