Yesterday in speaking on the phone with a colleague, I started out the conversation with "Before we talk about anything else, how was your vacation?" - knowing that he had taken a week off a couple of weeks prior and wanting to start the conversation off on something of a good foot.
"Good" he replied. "But it was completely wiped out the minute I got back."
"Always the way, at least here".
"It seriously made me think about retirement."
We both chuckled a bit and then moved on to the business at hand.
But the comment stuck with me.
Now, I am (to the best of my knowledge) not in any position to retire at the moment. However, it does raise the rather interesting question of "Why am I working at this, and what for?"
I can generate certain answers of course: because I have to pay for a dwelling place, and food, and assist with college tuition, and support my spending habits on swords and books. And to be fair, those are (at least somewhat) legitimate answers.
But is that enough?
The reality is - under the current tax regime in place - I work 20% (one day of every five) for the government just in Federal Taxes. Add to that the other taxes I pay (property taxes, sales taxes, etc.) and I am most likely close to 25% of my working life dedicated to working for the government.
That math does not strike me as being right.
At least here in Baja Canada, we have the trumpeted "progressive tax system" whereby those that earn more, pay more. In other words, the harder you work to succeed or the more successful you are, the more you get the privilege of working for the government.
To be fair, to be retired (either independently, or on a combination of your own savings and your local version of Old Age Pension/Society Security or even just Old Age Pension/Social Security) means to have a curtailed income for probably 90% of us. It rules out doing a lot of things. And there are many that are effectively retired due to none of their own doing but by circumstances beyond their control, making a temporary job loss an unplanned life change.
And yet, a constrained lifestyle is not the end of the world. There are plenty of writers over at the bar on the right that lead such a life. For the most part, although they work hard and sometimes experience difficulties, I very seldom hear them lamenting the fact that they have (by choice or by decree) moved to this lifestyle.
It does make one wonder. And start doing some math.