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Retirement: The Case of the Ant and the Grasshopper

Retirement: The Case of the Ant and the Grasshopper

By Susan Williams

When you were younger you might remember being told an Aesop’s fable about an ant and a grasshopper.

Basically, the story goes like this;

One summer, a grasshopper was spending it’s days chirping and singing. An ant passed him by who was working hard and carrying an ear of corn to it’s nest. The grasshopper asked the ant to stop and talk to him rather then continue working. The ant replied that he needed to put food away for the winter and recommended that the grasshopper do the same. The grasshopper replied that he had plenty of food at the present time.

Needless to say, winter came and the grasshopper was starving and the ants had plenty to eat as a result of the work they did all summer. This is where Aesop’s morale of the story comes into play.

“It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”

Now what exactly does this fable have to do with retirement?

Well, there was a story a while back that was trending in the news. It concerned a Physician in Vancouver who after 48 years had decided to retire. He sent a letter to his patients asking for financial assistance in his retirement explaining that he had limited savings and no pension.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. has since intervened and it appears that this particular situation has since been sorted out.

But it does raise a very good question.

As a society, what responsibility do we have to support those that have not saved enough for retirement?

Now I am not in a position to judge whether this Physician managed his money appropriately or not in planning for his retirement. However his case does highlight the fact that there are many, many people who are not financially ready for retirement.

In a research study conducted by Insured Retirement Institute, they found that

“…less than a quarter of Baby Boomers, 24 percent, are confident they will have enough savings to last throughout their retirement.”

So as a society what are we to do?

This is a complex question and I’m not even going to attempt to weigh in on what the answer is. All I do know is that if a Physician is asking his patients for retirement assistance there are probably plenty of others who are in this same financial retirement boat that possibly shouldn’t be.

Which leads me back to the question – when it comes to financially planning for your retirement – are you an ant or a grasshopper? And if you are an ant, what responsibility do you have to take care of the grasshopper?

Just something for us to consider…

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.