Futures Salon: Resolved: Millennials will not have the experience of a retirement

Our discussion topic for this evening will be “Resolved: Millennials will not have the experience of a retirement.” We used the following source as a guide for this discussion: https://money.com/future-of-retirement-experts/

The Resolution is proposed: Millennials will not have the experience of a retirement. Four votes in yes. Three votes in no. Three abstain. A general hesitation on “it depends” is noted.

So why might millennials not have an retirement? While the older generations may have had access to retirement through gained wealth due to pensions and work structure, the modern employment system does not reflect this long-term tenure in a company. The word “retirement” (to go to bed, to withdraw, to end a match) may not apply to our society anymore. People may not be able to disengage. The wealth gap and racial divisions may physically prevent millennials from this traditional retirement environment. A population of the society which are primarily working physically (hard labor) which may be unable to withdraw with a potential withdrawal from society. This group may not be involved in the following.

An interesting article: https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/what-the-new-generation-of-working-class-americans-will-look-like. It describes both an evolution of the working class and a splintering of it.

This new “retirement” may be a hybridization of traditional work and finding funding to explore, create, and travel. Medicine and scientific advances also extend the longevity of life where a traditional retirement age may continually be pushed back into these new experiences. The new retirement may make the term itself obsolete. Perhaps people find new creative assets which fund this new retirement. Millennials already seem well-skilled and being flexible when working and this may be the requirement in these “retirement” years.

One of the problems about our species is that we always want more. We may be always want more luxury and a higher quality of life. This increases the cost of this retirement with every year.

How would millennials have a retirement? The term of “retirement” will continue to evolve and advance, new strategies will be found for income gaining, and new diversified positions will all engage in the future of making themselves to fit the new societal guide. Through systems like cryptocurrency and block-chain elements, wealth will be developed differently than the “house trading” and traditional wealth development methods.

Age may not be the critical definer of “retirement.” Our perception of the age spectrum relative to work/life will shift to a better work/life balance through the continuity of the work/life balance. With more individuals in the workforce, work may be more beneficially divided. We also always seem to find our way. The workplace changes, financial products change, but as time goes by things continue to improve and a blending of lifestyle and work may place it on the outside of the spokes of life, not the center. People may also shift towards a strategy of making the maximal amount of money early in life and then work to expend limited resources and effort through the rest of their life.

The concept of “lying flat” was raised, where people would participate in a form of workplace protest: https://theprint.in/opinion/pov/revolt-by-doing-nothing-chinese-youth-are-lying-in-bed-to-protest-tough-jobs-low-pay/693657/. Revolt by doing nothing. A commercial reaction to lying flat: https://jingdaily.com/lying-flat-trend-china-luxury-brands/. A book recommendation: The Precariat: The Dangerous New Class (https://www.amazon.com/Precariat-Dangerous-Class-Bloomsbury-Revelations/dp/1474294162). This group may be the most harshly affected by this adapting “retirement” environment. Staffing of this lower-end wealth category, such as fast food employment as we see in the news regarding reopening with the pandemic, highlights the moment we are in – maybe we want to rethink how we want to work and live.

Perhaps this would become an “engaged lying flat” type of retirement, where people can vacation, take lunch, see others and be connected to work but never overwhelmed by it – where work and life become a much more harmonious environment. We are already seeing where technologies, from 3D printing to medical device advances, to services such as ride sharing, are altering the cost of living, travel, and showing wealth.

We must consider that both economic disparity, the wealth gap, and policy beliefs separate a portion of our population from feeling like their life is a hopeful one. For every economic advancement that AI, robotic automation, and 3D printing may bring, a portion of people will find these as potentially harmful to their livelihood. Much work must be done to remedy this disparity and even the field for defining a future which contains this hopeful “retirement” outcome.

To end on a question on work: Is leisure the opposite of work? Do we need a new term in order to define an environment in which these two words do not appear so antithetical? Do we retire away from one job and into another? There was a long time where having a job defined people, a term of value, an outward appearance. Leisure, church, work, family may all become locations in which we may engage in self-expression and derive fulfillment from. Your “passion project” may fall into any of these categories.

The concept of social capital was brought up and we will dive into the future of social capital next month on August 10th.

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