Guest Op-Ed: Graduation and Your Destination

Dr. Glenn Mollette 

Families across America are celebrating high school and college graduations.

American young adults are now faced with going to work or pursuing more education. Employers across America are looking for workers. Colleges are looking for students. Will you spend $25,000 to $60,000 per year to go to school? Or, will you go to work and earn $25,000 to $60,000 or more? 

Some of America’s graduates will find jobs working for state or federal government entities. One acquaintance went to work for her state government and retired by the time she was 46. With a full state retirement benefit she started a part time business that seems to do well. She did not have one day of college education. She started out at an entry level job but worked hard, showed up and received several promotions that provided her with a good income and a very good government retirement. 

A high school graduate can enlist into the military. He or she will start out on the bottom but show up and work hard every day and have a retirement by the time they are 38 years old. It’s only 50% of their salary but it’s a respectable check which will provide them financial security for the rest of their lives.  

If school teachers start teaching at the age of 23 many can retire by about 51 years old. 

Retiring at 46 or 51 is seldom on the mind of someone 18 or even 23. Often, just finding an enjoyable job that is maintainable is the main goal. However, give some thought to the type of work you are pursuing. What kind of financial stability and security will it provide for you and when will it afford you retirement income? 

You don’t have to quit working at 46 or 50 just because you have obtained a monthly retirement check. There is a world of opportunities you can pursue. You can start a different career. You can work part time.  Or, you can stay with the job you are doing. Or, just enjoy life. 

There is a sacrifice to a lot of jobs. Many jobs may be fulfilling but often come up short on solid retirement plans. Pursue and enjoy what you do but you can’t make a retirement plan happen out of thin air when you hit sixty. Keep in mind you can save a little bit of money every month and it will grow. Be diligent about this every month and you’ll eventually see results. Start now. 

The career you went to school for may also allow you to retire at 55 if you want to. You may also train for a job that you will enjoy doing into your late sixties or even seventies or older. An acquaintance of mine is 82. He’s been in the hotel business for many years and loves his work. Another friend was a college President until he was 78 and loved every minute of his work. One of my friends is a surgeon and is 72. He loves working every day. 

Today is a good time to think about what you are doing and where it will take you. Consider what you want life to look like when you arrive at your destination.

Glenn Mollette is the publisher of Newburgh Press, Liberty Torch and various other publishing imprints; a national columnist –  American Issues and Common Sense opinions, analysis, stories and features appear each week In over 500 newspapers, websites and blogs across the United States.

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