Resignation letters, especially from teachers, are becoming a genre unto themselves and not infrequently go viral. Perhaps it is because they give voice to some deep sentiments that are true but impolitic to state until after one has tendered one’s resignation.
A new entertainingly written contribution to this burgeoning field of literature, a blog post by Penn State political science professor Philip Schrodt, has particular relevance to financial advisors as a case study in what the new retirement looks like, or could look like, for affluent boomer clients.
Schrodt’s post is not only going viral but is specifically counseling “going feral” — the post’s title — as a life and career move for late middle-age professionals.
Going feral is shorthand for neither retiring nor staying on as a tired, timeserving, tenured salary collector of declining relevance — or as Schrodt puts it in announcing his move to full-time consulting: “I’ve left to pursue other opportunities and get my fat Boomer butt out of the way.”
The lengthy but fun-to-read post essentially argues that boomers, by delaying retirement for longer stretches, are blocking the progress of young people struggling to ignite their careers while failing to use this stage of life to explore other opportunities.
“Why give up a sinecure that pays three or four times the median income and if you just want to do absolute minimum — and plenty of Boomers do — involves maybe 10 hours a week, if that?” Schrodt asks, noting that he is not leaving because of poor health or an inability to perform his job at a high level.
Rather, the reasons to go feral include quitting while you’re ahead. Schrodt points to one colleague who died three weeks after retiring but thinks boomers who stay on thinking retirement will hasten their demise are making a mistake. “Even Pope Benedict decided to retire when he didn’t have the strength to do the job well.”