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Ok, I'm not really one to talk here, since I retired very early, but I thought this whole article was bogus.

First, the conclusion he arrives at is:

Together, they worked an additional 4,000 hours to enjoy a benefit of $5,760. So their benefit comes to $1.44 an hour, before income taxes. In the 15 percent tax bracket, the net spendable benefit would be $1.22 an hour.

Which is factually wrong. They didn't work 4000 hours to get $5,760. They worked 4000 hours to receive $5,760 a year in perpetuity (including adjustments upwards for inflation). Factually, earning $1.44 is very different from $1.44 every year, forever, inflation adjusted.

The other summary he makes is that working an extra year only gave them 8% of extra income. Which actually sounds pretty huge to me! They've been working 40+ years and only one extra year gives them a very measurable impact on their income for the rest of their life? Why not?

Especially if we think about the implication of that 8% on their discretionary spending. If we assume that 60% of their original budget is non-discretionary then their original budget was $64,000 non-discretionary (housing, food, bills), $21,000 discretionary, $21,000 savings. That, in turn, means that their post-retirement discretionary income goes from $6,500 to $12,500. Working an extra year nearly doubles their discretionary income!

There are a lot of assumptions there, such as assuming that their non-discretionary expenses won't decrease after retirement. But the point core point stands: that I don't think his numbers support his argument at all. 8% of extra income in perpetuity is a pretty big deal to almost everyone. I think most working and middle class families would find that an 8% raise in their income had a significant impact on their lifestyle.

The thing is, I don't even disagree with the original assertion he makes: if his friend is unhappy at his job at 62, and has the means to retire, then he should retire. Especially since, as I've found, retirement doesn't have to be binary.

I also agree with the gist of his "hedonistic clock" argument that he references. Which paraphrased is, your early retirement years are particularly valuable because your health won't last forever.

But the numbers just don't seem to support his thesis as he's laid it out.

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