Why I don’t plan to retire

work retireIt seems that most people would like to retire as soon as possible, and they also have several dreams about the things they will do when they finally retire. I don’t. I would like to continue working as long as my health permits. My goal is not to stop working sooner, I would like to keep healthy longer and use my remaining strength to do something productive.

This is because my job is much more than simply a source of income. Perhaps I’m extremely lucky, but I really derive lots of pleasure from my work. As a software developer, I’m constantly facing new challenges, and I always have something new to learn. The activities involved in building software systems combine imagination and creativity with the need for organization and planning.

Working for pleasure since my first job

This was true also in my first job, when I was 16 and started working as a programmer. I didn’t need the money. As all my friends, my father would give me a monthly amount sufficient to cover all my expenses. And indeed none of my friends had any desire to work at that early age. But I was different. I knew I could use my programming skills to create real systems with business value. My work was the best way to achieve that.

I actually stopped working at the same time all my friends started looking for their first job. At age 20 I was beginning my last year at the university. I wanted to do a Master’s degree, and in order to improve my grades I decided to stop working and dedicate more time to my studies. Most of my colleagues did the opposite: they started looking for their first job. At that time I already had four years of practical experience as a professional software developer.

Retire early die younger?

Several scientific studies have reached the counter-intuitive conclusion that people who retire early may also die younger. For example:

“A study of Shell Oil employees shows that people who retire at age 55 and live to be at least 65 die sooner than people who retire at 65.” [1]

The Healthy Retirement Study found that “healthy retirees who worked a year longer (over the age of 65) had an 11% lower ‘all-cause mortality risk’.” [2]

Of course I’m not saying that people should continue working to avoid dying prematurely. But I do believe that work is an integral part of our lives. I think that human beings have the need to use their available time and energy to produce, create and build. The person who stops working and at the same time stops contributing to any endeavour outside his personal desires is actually becoming handicapped.

About Hayim Makabee

Veteran software developer, enthusiastic programmer, author of a book on Object-Oriented Programming, co-founder and CEO at KashKlik, an innovative Influencer Marketing platform.
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1 Response to Why I don’t plan to retire

  1. Ben says:

    Like you I enjoy my work and plan to work beyond 65 years of age.

    However, I have several friends who were forced to retire due to health issues. The Shell study you site did not adjust for health issues. “…the poorer health status of some early retirees may play some part”.

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