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May 27, 2007, 02:29 PM
This past winter I stopped in an Arizona rest stop and saw a gray haired man standing by his bicycle, outfitted for touring. It was an inexpensive bicycle and the panniers for hauling stuff were very old. Because I am into long distance bicycling I initiated a conversation with the fellow. This man said he was forced into retirement, and had only social security, plus menial jobs along the way, to keep body and soul together. He had taken to the road because "I don't have anything better to do." He found the quality of life better on his bicycle with such low income than what it would be if he stayed put.

I never asked for the details of why he was forced to retire. I know it's against the law to force one out because of age, but there are certainly ways to make a person flee a job to keep his peace of mind.

All of us baby boomers have been warned time and again not to count on Social Security. Fact is, SS will be the only income for many of us. I can't imagine that so-called safety net disappearing, as some predict, but even if it does still exist when retirement arrives, forced or not, it won't be comfortable. My bicycling hobby may develop into a very practical pursuit down the road (so to speak).

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