Nearly everyone in America over the age of 40 obsesses about retirement. It is the epilogue of the American Dream. A secure retirement is the end mark of a life well lead, even something of a status symbol. (For the middle-class at least. Retirement has never been a status symbol for poor people, and truly rich people never retire. Look at Warren Buffet. He is like a thousand years old and has so much money he gives most of it away. He isn’t retiring. Of course, he does probably set his own hours.)
But retirement wasn’t always the stuff of sweet daydreams. 150 years ago, almost no one thought of retiring. In fact, the idea of retirement as something we should all aspire to has only been around for about 60 years.