Question: What was the Original Retirement Plan?

What was the Original Retirement Plan?

Question: What was the Original Retirement Plan?If you seriously consider this question your mind might be swimming with terms such as: corporate and union pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, 403(b)s  etc..

You might argue that any of these are the first and maybe the most important retirement plan available.

If you have been alive for any amount of time you are probably aware that the pension is nearly extinct and qualified plans have only been around for just over three decades and they too are faltering and outright failing.

But this still doesn’t answer the question, “What was the original retirement plan?”.

You might be surprised to learn that third-world and developing countries still use and practice this very first retirement plan.

It deals with land and real estate. It’s not investing per se. I’ll give you a hint by asking another question. What were two of the reasons the pilgrims fled Europe to come to America?

Stumped yet?

One more hint: think, land and freedom. You’re getting closer and maybe you even guessed it by now but I can’t actually hear you so I’ll just assume you want me to tell you.

This ancient method of securing one’s financial and living needs into perpetuity is called…..the family farm!!

Not what you were thinking was it?

Before you roll your eyes and tell me to jump in a lake let me explain how it worked and why it worked so well up until the Industrial Revolution.

The Family Farm

Farmer Lovin LifeOur ancestors, probably two or three generations back, were landowners who worked the land by way of agriculture and livestock to support and sustain life.

One generation would acquire the land and have children. Those children would grow up and work on the farm alongside their parents.

As the first generation was getting too old to work they would act as overseers or consultants while the younger generations worked hard providing a living free of charge for their now aged parents.

This system has been working for thousands of years!

Back then life was simple and straightforward and it worked. This is so different from today where life is super complex, confusing, and almost never works out, at least as far as a comfortable worry-free retirement goes!

So what happened to this simple yet very effective method?

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution happened and it happened in a big way!

Brick and mortar business, more specifically factories, started popping up all over. Both World Wars played a big part in this as well by bringing millions from the countrysides into factories to build war supplies.

Companies needed workers to manufacture goods in the cities but there was no incentive for the country folk to leave their simple and effective life behind.

Poof! The first corporate sponsored retirement plan called a pension was devised.

It was a stroke of genius. Big manufacturing companies told people that if they came to work in the factories not only will the company pay them for their time and work but they would also pay out a living wage after 30 or 40 years of employment!

This solved the dilemma and provided enough incentive for the farming community to leave their way of life and join in the revolution.

This lasted for a handful of decades then something changed.

The same companies who promised their hardworking employees a pension in their retirement years could suddenly no longer keep that promise.

It was too expensive for them to do it and still remain liquid and viable in the marketplace. So pension plans soon dried up and only a small handful of companies offer these anymore.

Better Luck Next Time

What was to be done?

Like any benevolent government, ours created savings plans aimed at workers to “help” them fund their own retirement. During the late 60’s to early 70’s we witnessed the birth of government-sponsored-IRS-qualified-savings-plans.

So when the corporations could no longer afford to take care of their devoted workers the federal government stepped in and provided a fun solution. With plenty of strings attached of course, but we’ll leave that for another day.

There you have it.


The original and self actualizing retirement plan was abandoned for some cheap promises and eventually an outright failure of a so called government sponsored tax advantaged retirement plan.

The sad truth is that the system put in place which revolves around “qualified” type plans is severely limiting and does not, in most cases, provide a comfortable standard of living that can sustain all the desired activities and the not so desired events like medical expenses into one’s golden years.

Solution?      Return to the family farm!


The commonality between the family farm and a retirement plan that actually works is very simple… It takes care of you in retirement and allows you pursue your hobbies, travel, relax and enjoy life instead of working till the day you die. Sadly most Americans will never enjoy this kind of retirement.

Warning!! Soap Box ahead!

It’s our individual responsibility to take control of our financial lives and our retirement. It’s not our employer’s or the government’s place to do so. Every time we allow someone else to control this aspect of our lives we have effectively given up some of our potential and freedom.

We can be owners of land and property which produce income without breaking our backs to earn it. Just like on the farm, we can wisely and strategically acquire and create a self-sustaining system that generates cash flow up to and throughout our retirement and we can pass this onto future generations effectively leaving a legacy to be proud of!

~The Original Retirement Plan By Joe Nielsen

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