Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine
Readers share their thoughts on mandatory retirement, making the most of time spent in the car with children, and more.
WHEN TO RETIRE?
Jim Braude is right on target (“The Case for Mandatory Retirement,” January 21). We not only need mandatory retirement for elected and appointed officials, we need term limits for exactly the same reasons. One caveat: The positions he cites provide generous, if not extravagant, retirement plans. We also need to deal with the rampant and blatant age discrimination that has left so many Americans in their 50s on the unemployment rolls with few retirement savings and job prospects.
Victoria P. Gaw / Sterling
As an analyst of retirement, I was surprised to see Jim Braude’s argument. I agree that institutions can benefit from an infusion of new leadership from younger individuals. No doubt some stay on the job too long. But reinstating mandatory retirement, which was banned by Congress in 1986, would run counter to today’s retirement reality. In 2016, one in five Americans ages 70 to 74 was working or looking for work. For many, working longer is a necessity. The shift to 401(k) plans places more responsibility on workers to save for retirement. Out-of-pocket medical costs for Medicare beneficiaries are rising faster than inflation and consume a quarter of the average Social Security check. Older workers already face age discrimination in the labor market. We should not add mandatory retirement to the challenges they face in seeking retirement security.
Courtney Coile / professor of economics, Wellesley College
A mandatory retirement age is essential for government people. And a maximum age for candidates for public office, too. We now have a new generation, aged 18-34, that needs leadership close to their age — to a maximum age of 55-60.
Robert L. Hyde / Cambridge
As a 75-year-old woman I agree with Jim Braude’s suggestion. We slow down mentally and physically after 65.
Karen McMahon / Weston
What a great Perspective column on mandatory retirement! I retired from the fire department after 35 years at the age of 53. (It’s a young person’s job. Public safety officers have mandatory retirement at age 65.) After going back to school and earning two master’s degrees, I am now happily entrenched as the settled pastor and teacher at First Congregational Church in Milford, New Hampshire. Being retired doesn’t mean hanging up your life. It just means finding something new and interesting to do. Thanks again for a great article.
The Rev. Allen Hoyt / Milford, New Hampshire
BACK SEAT BANTER
Thank you Laura Shea Souza for a wonderful Connections essay (“In the Driver’s Seat,” January 21)! Like Laura’s mom, I learned a lot about my kids and their friends by just driving and listening. They’d become so engrossed in their conversations that it often felt as if they’d forgotten I was there. And many of the best discussions I ever had with each of my four sons were in the car. Like the author’s mom, I always felt that the lack of eye contact was key (notwithstanding a quick glance at each other in the rear-view mirror). I can only hope that today’s parents and kids aren’t so distracted and shut off from the real world by their various electronic diversions that they miss out on these everyday opportunities for real connection with each other.
Eileen Paradise / Carver
When the time comes, have the kids chauffeur you as much as humanly possible. When they’re your teenage passengers (sans friends), they will become absorbed in their devices. When they have to concentrate on the road, they’re open to conversation with Mom. This is a must-do for trips to prospective universities. Enjoy every phase of motherhood. Eighteen years is but a blink of an eye.
Fred Bement / Boxborough
What a beautiful Connections by Patty Dann (“The Family Silver,” January 28). The “silver” in the family was tarnished for years but shone so brightly once more late in life when her parents reconnected after years of disconnect. She couldn’t hide her heart or her hurt. Beautifully written.
Mark Sills / Marshfield
Write on! (Pun intended). Volunteering comes from the heart (Miss Conduct, January 28) and says volumes about who you are. I can’t recall how many squeaky doors and dripping faucets I’ve gladly fixed for friends of friends since I have retired.
Brad Ricketson / Abington
In other words, Trump is just like your regular Republican politician who seeks to hurt the poor and help the wealthy (“Behind the Noise, Trump is Actually Just Another Marco, Ted, or Jeb!” January 28). We’ve seen the results of reverse Robin Hood policies for nearly 40 years and the result has been increasing income inequality and fewer opportunities for many people. This would be true if these policies were being pushed by the divisiveness of Donald Trump or by the relative geniality of John Kasich. I prefer politicians who care about everyone and have a modicum of empathy for the least among us.
Edwin Andrews / Malden