Retirement is the goal of countless millions of Americans.
In some occupations, such as certain state jobs in California or
in the military, you can be “out” when you are in your late forties or
early fifties. Then, a world of wonderful opportunities beckons: doing
nothing for the rest of your life. Or, is this so wonderful?
At age 72 I plan to stay in the professional numismatics saddle
until I am well over 100 years old, and plan to enjoy every year of
it. “Work” can be defined several ways. “I have never worked a day in
my life” is one of my favorite sayings, because I enjoy what I do in
the wonderful world of numismatics. Most other dealers also stay in
the trade for many years. I must also point to my fine, long-term
(since the mid-1950s) collector friend Eric P. Newman, one of the
finest and most accomplished people in American numismatics, who is
still doing research and writing now, but will take time out on May 25
to observe his 100th birthday.
“Retirement has killed more people than hard work ever did” is a
familiar saying, and it is true. However, some analysis is needed. If
you have a downright boring dead-end job, by all means retire from it
as soon as you can. But then get involved in some other occupation
that is exciting and stimulating. Remember, Col. Sanders did not start
his Kentucky Fried Chicken business until he was past retirement age.
Alan V. Weinberg recently sent me an article from the Los Angeles
Times, “Work longer, live happier,” by Katherine Schlaerth of the
University of Southern California School of Medicine, who stated:
“Americans are hard-wired to consider retirement age to be 65. …
As a geriatrician, I’ve come to believe that working longer is
generally a good thing. Most people just plain do better, both
intellectually and physically, when they continue to work.”
For you the second time around can be “working” at a hobby,
immersing yourself in it, meeting people, joining groups, and more. I
give an example, numismatic of course: Clarence S. Bement, who formed
one of the greatest collections of coins ever, did not start until he
was more than 70!
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, email@example.com,
or at Q. David Bowers LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.