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Donald Trump’s Retirement Plan

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The one person Donald Trump says he’ll never fire is himself. Though he turned 65 this year, the real estate and reality TV showman insists the thought of retirement never occurs to him.

“My father, who worked until he passed away at 93, used to always say, ‘to retire is to expire,” Trump told “And I feel the same way. I love what I’m doing – and when you love what you’re doing, you don’t retire.”

Sure he’s abandoned various enterprises over the years, but Trump – a man of a thousand careers – said he could never stop working.

He’s not alone: Three quarters of Americans plan to work well beyond retirement age, a 2010 Families and Work Institute study found. While for many this is a function of economic necessity, a third of those surveyed said they feared without work they’d become bored and less vital.

Trump says he can understand why many of his friends would prefer to ride off into the sunset on a golf cart, but claims he’d rather put up a new golf course than putt on one. “Part of the beauty of what I do is that just checking out my properties means going to glamorous places,” he says. “That is working, for me.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with not working, Trump said. “I wouldn’t say retirement is for losers – in fact I have a lot of friends who are great winners in retirement – but I also have a lot of great friends who, after they retire, just never look the same.”

Without naming names, Trump said he’s seen several prominent businessmen turn to mush once they stopped working. “A friend, who was a banker, looked forward to his retirement, but as soon as he got there he became less vibrant — he aged a lot,” Trump said. “I think people would live longer if they kept working.”

Keeping active is keeping youthful, Trump said. “In real estate, people never retire – they keep making deals until their 80s and 90s,” he said. “Real estate people don’t have to get facelifts to keep looking young, we give facelifts to buildings.”

From developer of luxury apartments to casinos to beauty pageants to political platforms, few can claim a more varied portfolio of careers. “I don’t think anyone has been as diverse as me. I own Miss Universe, Miss USA. I own a lot of different companies,” he said. “But that’s not why I don’t want to retire. When you find what you love doing, you keep doing it. When you stop loving it, then you retire.”


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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.