Why Is Retirement Called the Golden Years?

Why Is Retirement Referred to as Your “Golden Years”?


Written by John Rothans

Dec 17, 2021

From 1985 to 1992, millions of American TV viewers tuned in each week to The Golden Girls so they could catch the latest escapades of four older women—Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia—sharing a home in Miami. Millions more TV viewers around the world now watch the show’s reruns in syndication.

The award-winning NBC sitcom derived its name from the phrase “golden years,” typically applied to the retirement phase of our lives. But where did the “golden years” and thus the Golden Girls come from? The “golden” reference actually dates back to New Year’s Eve 1959.

What Does “Golden Years” Mean?

Del Webb and his company—which would revolutionize retirement living in the U.S. through the Sun City brand of communities—coined the “golden years” term in 1959 to cast retirement as the time for a life of leisure.

“Instead of being dreaded years of decline, retirement would become something people longed for,” The Washington Post explained in a 2005 article. “Through the magic of marketing, retirement no longer meant only the end of work. It was sold as the beginning of a new, even a better life.”

More than 50 years after Webb and his team invented the “golden years” concept, the phrase remains part of our retirement-related vocabulary. Generally speaking, the golden years begin at age 65 and last until age 80 and beyond. However, some experts question whether “golden years” still belongs in our vocabulary because the time span and definition of retirement have changed over the past half-century.

“Older Americans live longer now than they did in 1960. The former ‘golden years,’ which once lasted maybe a decade or so, can now last up to 30 years,” says NPR.

Looking Toward a Golden Retirement

To ensure your golden years are as golden as possible, it’s wise to use common retirement vehicles to reach that goal. For instance, you might consider signing up for your employer-sponsored 401(k) or opening an IRA—or doing both if you haven’t yet. There is no limit to the number of individual retirement accounts you can have, and millions of Americans have multiple retirement accounts.

As time goes on, you’ll probably want to adjust your retirement strategy to fit your current circumstances, to align with shifting economic conditions, and to match your often-fluid retirement plans (such as where you’d like to live). In addition, as you get closer to your targeted retirement age, you’ll want to cut back on spending and reduce debt so you can set aside more money for your golden years.

Your approach to saving for retirement may also include a golden asset—physical gold. You might buy gold bars or coins individually or purchase them as part of a self-directed IRA. This type of IRA lets you hold alternative assets, such as precious metals and real estate. Even if you already have retirement accounts, a self-directed IRA might enable you to put a little bit more of a shine on your golden years.

Help make sure your retirement years truly are golden by reaping the benefits of physical gold. Download your free Precious Metals IRA Kit to learn how gold can work in your favor even when you’re not working.


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