The Final Episode

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 10, 2017 10:37


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Retirement.  A radical idea first proposed to the German parliament in 1881 by Otto von Bismarck outlining government-run financial support for older members of society.  In those days, people simply did not retire.  If they lived, they probably worked on a farm.  If a person was wealthier they managed a farm or larger estate.  But von Bismarck was under pressure by opponents to do something better for the people in his country, and so after eight years the German government had in place a retirement system which provided for citizens over the age of 70…if they lived that long.  That was a big “if”, as that retirement age pretty much matched the life expectancy in Germany at the time.  Even with this retirement, most folks worked until they died.

Let’s fast-forward to America today.  A recent poll done by Americans for Secure Retirement found that 88% of those responding felt anxiety about maintaining a comfortable standard of living throughout retirement.  Farm and ranch operators face even more significant obstacles as they are more likely to be self-employed and without an employer-sponsored retirement plan.  Extreme volatility in farm income, weather conditions and other factors also make things difficult, and for these reasons many farmers today face the results of living long lives without retirement income.

For a lot of farmers, there’s an added mental or emotional state that comes into play.   Their identities are so closely tied to agriculture that the thought of retirement is like a death sentence.  What will they do?  How will they fill their days with purpose and activity that will aid them in living a fulfilled life after farming?

One thing the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office suggests is an exercise of visualization, and here’s a quick summary of the steps:

  • First draw a picture (don’t worry about your artistic talent) of what your retirement fantasy would be.  Sketch what you want to be doing in retirement without financial, geographical, health or other limitations.
  • Next, on another sheet of paper, make two columns.  In the first column write the words you want to use to describe your retirement.  In the next column do the exact opposite, listing the words you don’t want as descriptors.
  • The third step involves writing four paragraphs:
    • 1st paragraph – the things you want to do or perform in retirement
    • 2nd paragraph – the things you want to be or exist as in retirement
    • 3rd paragraph – the things you want to have, possess, own or hold in retirement
    • 4th paragraph – the things you want to contribute, give or help to bring about in retirement (financial, time-related, political, social, etc.)

One can only hope that all of the pieces for retirement fall into place, making it a smooth and enjoyable transition.  Are you ready for this final episode in your life?  I’ll leave you with a fitting quote by Stuart Rose:

I actually think the whole concept of retirement is a bit stupid, so yes, I do want to do something else.  There is this strange thing that just because chronologically on a Friday night you have reached a certain age…with all that experience, how can it be that on a Monday morning, you are useless?


-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team



Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 10, 2017 10:37
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