Will Retirement be the Last Thing Millennials "Ruin?"

When I think about my own path in life, and the end of my career, I can't honestly say that I'm looking forward to retirement. Retirement just isn't something that's ever appealed to me on a deep enough level. Sure I'd love to sit on the beach drinking mai tais everyday, but as many people who retire early find out, that lifestyle gets old. I'd much rather have the freedom and ability to enjoy everything this life has to offer while still providing meaning and value to others.

I feel like retirement goes eerily similar for far too many people. I've seen many people retire, enjoy approximately 10-15 years of healthy retirement, then about 10 more years in declining health, and finally they pass away. The oddest part about this is it seems to happen to people regardless of the age they retire at. Strangely enough, many people who live well into their 90s, either continue working, or spending their time volunteering in their community. I'm not saying there's a correlation even, I'm just making an observation. Regardless, I don't want to dread my job so much that I can't wait for a day 30-40 years in the future. That's not a life I want to live.

What I envision for myself is a slightly different outcome. I intend to work until I am no longer physically able to, and I hope that's a long, long time. If I work doing something that I truly enjoy and isn't too physically demanding, then why would I retire? And if I work doing something that I don't enjoy, then I'll find a new job or start a new business that I like better. Ideally, when I get to that point in my life, I hope that I have achieved enough to have a substantial impact on humanity in an area that I am passionate about, and I plan to continue contributing at that high level until I'm no longer able to.

With the large number of people who are realizing that early retirement isn't the key to happiness, will we see a surge in the other direction? In a recent video on RealVision, Raoul Pal, CEO and co-founder of Global Macro Investor, discusses the impact he believes the baby boomer pension funds will have on the economy as a whole, and even predicts that they will be the cause of the next major recession. The rationale is basically that, the pensions have been facing difficulty finding the returns necessary to support their future withdrawals from employees, and the mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation will lead to a huge out flux of capital from these pension funds, which will not be sustainable.

At the very least, it's an interesting thought experiment. If true, there will be a large number of Baby Boomers who are left unprotected and likely underfunded for their retirements. Not only that, many of them may still be unable to liquidate their largest asset, in their home, because the homes that many Baby Boomers own, aren't the homes that Millennials want to buy or can even afford. Many Baby Boomers where able to afford something equivalent to a dream home by historical standards. It wasn't uncommon for people with modest incomes to have a huge 4 or 5 bedroom homes with a huge lawn in the suburbs. These aren't the homes Millennials want to live in, or even age into. Maybe someday, but not likely in the next 10 years, when the last of the Baby Boomers will be looking to downsize.

After we watch our parents' dreams of financial ease in retirement dwindle, and move back into their massive homes, or invite them to move in with us, will we then gain a different prospective on retirement itself? Will it be the final straw that convinces Millennials that retirement isn't the dream every financial advisor touts it to be? Or will we still be so burdened with the effects of student loan debt that working past the normal retirement age will be a necessity? In addition to the items above, the developed countries of the world will continue to increase their reliance on data with the coming transition to 5g internet, making data management and working-from-home, even more prevalent than it is today. If we can work from home for a few hours each day selling our artwork, working on analytics problems, or mentoring younger colleagues, would we really rather be sitting in front of the TV watching the "Price is Right" instead? My guess is we won't.