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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 12 (April 15, 1955)

Friedmann, Eugene
The road ahead,   pp. 22-23


Page 22


    PREPARING FOR
      RETIREMENT: I
THE
                ROAD
                            AHEAD
      A University sociologist explores facts and fictions
of retirement-a state of life that more and more of us can
      expect to reach. This series will be published by the UW
   Extension Division's Industrial Management Institute next fall.
SETIREMENT is a new and un-
     familiar experience for most Amer-
     icans. And paradoxically enough,
it usually comes quite suddenly. That's
why we find that many persons fail to
give it much thought or preparation be-
fore the day of their retirement.
  Yet one sure thing that has been dis-
covered by those who study retirement is
this: the persons who enjoy the most
successful retirements are usually the
ones who have armed themselves with
some knowledge about retirement and
have planned for it ahead of time.
  Certainly, cold statistics reveal that
the number of retired people-people
who can live out the rest of their lives
without the  necessity of work-has
grown rapidly in size over the last twenty
years. Probably it will continue to grow
rapidly in the future.
  Yet only fifty years ago the retired
group was still a very small one; only a
fortunate few could hope for retirement.
It has grown in size because two im-
22
portant changes have been taking place
in our country.
* First, the productivity of our Amer-
ican economy has been increasing at an
unprecedented rate, and is expected to
continue to increase in the future. We
are entering what is sometimes called an
"economy of abundance." This means
that we are now not only producing more
goods for more people than ever before
in the history of the world, but that we
are requiring fewer hours of work from
each worker to do it. Since the turn of
the century, we have seen the average
work week decrease from 48 to 44 to
less than 40 hours a week.
  Equally important, we have also seen
a decrease in the number of years a per-
son has to work in order to support
himself and his family. It is no longer
necessary for a man to spend all the years
of his adult life working to support his
family and himself. Today he can retire
at 65, in many cases, and it is predicted
that if our ability to produce continues
to increase at the rate it has in the past,
it won't be long before our economy of
abundance  might even  allow   many
workers to retire at 60.
0 The second change that has been tak-
ing place in our country is the rapid
increase in the number of persons in
later years of life. At the turn of the
century only one person in every 25 was
65 years and over. Today, one person
in every 12 is in this group and it is
predicted that within two decades the
WISCONSIN ALUMNUS


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