Are People Opting Out of the System?

Over the past couple years I’ve noticed a small but increasingly vocal portion of society that has given up on their futures.

In public, you’d never know who these people are. They could be your coworkers, friends or family. Many don’t publicly express their views, but anonymous channels like Reddit are allowing these people to vent.

They still work, have families, buy stuff and pay their bills, but they don’t behave as if they’ll be around for much longer. They don’t save or invest because they have no confidence in the future.

I believe divisiveness, inequality, radicalism, environmental destruction and declining living standards are eroding optimism and changing the ways people behave.

If these trends continue, more people will become disenfranchised. What happens to society as a whole when people opt out of the system?

What happens if these people are wrong and they haven’t saved for their future? This was a big problem for some HIV patients in the 1990s. In the early days, HIV was an automatic death sentence so after diagnoses many patients spent every penny they owned believing they only had months to live. However, as new treatments emerged, people started to live much longer – unfortunately, many had already spent their life savings and were unprepared for a long life.

On the other hand, what if these people are right?

The purpose of this article isn’t to provide answers. Simply, I wanted to show that a growing segment of society is starting to opt out. Below, I’ve shared several comments from anonymous Reddit users who have given up on their futures:


I’m 35 right now, in 30 years when I hit 65 to collect the money I don’t think the world is going to look very much like the present so I’m not sure if I will get a whole lot of value from that money. So I’ve decided to stop contributing from now on and instead have that money for more immediate spending. I’m thinking collapse aware real-estate. For the money I already have in my RRSP I will try to invest it in collapse aware investments. Thinking things on the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to increase the chance of them still having value.


I keep hearing and reading the same sentiment in the UK. The arguments mainly being either the money saved wont be worth anything by the time they retire (quite likely) or they simply wont be able to save up enough money to retire and need to keep working until they die (also very likely for many).


I’m under 50 only debts, can’t manage to save for anything under poverty wages

My retirement plan now is called the

Lead retirement plan

If I’m too old and broken to wipe my own ass, but can still pull a trigger.


If you’re in your 50s, then there’s still a chance that you can retire at 65 (granted, this is being very optimistic about the future). But if you’re under 50, I say don’t bother. Instead of saving for retirement, work on paying off debts and investing in high-quality tools and supplies you’ll need for 3rd-world living.


I’m *happy* to see this topic as I feel like I’ve had this sentiment for 5-10 years and everyone acts like I’m crazy… I still contribute to my 401K and we have real estate investments, but I’m not too worried about any of that. I really don’t think they will be accessible or the bigger concern in the next 5-20 years.


In my view somebody 35 saving money in a retirement fund is a complete waste of time and is an exercise in futility.


I have had this conversation many times and I’ve never seen any argument to even halfway convince me that there will be funds of money for old people to collect mid century. Given how we are tracking, I just don’t see a viable pathway. I’m more interested in how else we might spend extra money we have to sure up our future resilience. I went for the property in the country angle, low debt and throw all extra money at it. It’s what a family will need and the community around me recognise it as mine. If I were in my 50’s, sure maybe save for retirement, but 30’s….. I don’t understand how this seems sensible.


Hi – also 35 with a great match from my employer in the US.

I don’t know what the world is going to look like when I’m 65. I have enough money to continue contributing and to save for things like a second home in a potentially better climate. I felt this rush to snatch up property earlier this year and cooled down on the idea. I think for me there’s still time to see how more things are unfolding.

Anyway I guess my advice is to still contribute if you can, even if you have no idea if it will be worth doing so.


Many years ago, I was commenting to a friend of mine who I work closely with from time to time, saying that the way I live my life (I have absolutely nothing in the way of assets) was likely to bite me in the ass in my elder years. I’d be likely eating bugs out from under a board or something. He just looked at me and said “Oh, don’t worry. By the time we are that old, they’ll just be eating old people.“

What are the factors that I weigh in on this whole retirement thing, is how many old people I know who had some random event come up in their life that wiped out their retirement. Sure; planning for a retirement is a gamble that you might be willing to take, but honestly, I would be shocked if those plans are going to pan out for almost anybody…


I sold everything I owned and I’m currently traveling the world experiencing humanity’s high water mark while I can. I have a background in climate and all that has done is completely kill any hope I had that we’re going to survive the coming cataclysms.

Modern civilization is beyond saving. I’m just gonna enjoy myself while it all burns.

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  1. notabilia

    Reddit seems to have a singular purpose among all the fossil-fueled social media sites in encouraging blasts of anti-authoritarian truths from its ragged users. Bullshit seems to get regularly pummeled, though a fair share of it still gets through (opting out of the system is going to involve a lot of immediate pain, for example.) Ever been tempted?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dumb Wealth

      Perhaps it’s the anonymity of that allows that. I also think it’s origins are renegade in nature so it has always had a bit of an anti-authoritarian tilt. I do like the up/downvoting feature to help filter out the nonsense or at least rank the ‘truths’ that people espouse.

      I’m not one for opting out completely. I’m cynical of the future but also recognize that things always seem dire so the future may be much more bland than anyone expects.

      Like