Montana a great place to retire to … or not


Greg Gianforte

By coincidence, two interesting, Montana-centric stories on retirement were published yesterday.

One was a bit of a fluff piece from Newsmax, headlined “Benefits of Retiring in Montana.” One “benefit” is that Montana is not crowded, which seems silly. Retirees love crowded! Have you been to Florida?

In regard to housing, Newsmax said Bozeman made a list of “Affordable Mountain Towns for Retirees,” which sounds dubious. It does go on to recommend Butte and Great Falls as cheaper alternatives, which sounds quite accurate.

The Huffington Post carried the other item—a story about how Greg Gianforte, seen as a likely candidate for Montana governor in 2016, believes that retirement is “not biblical.” Really.

Speaking at the Montana Bible College in February, Gianforte reportedly had this to say:

“There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today,” he said. “Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere.”

“The example I think of is Noah,” he continued. “How old was Noah when he built the ark? 600. He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks, he wasn’t hanging out, he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.”

From a fiscal persepctive, I guess we should all be glad that very few people these days live to be 600. That would add up to a hell of a lot of Social Security checks.

A Gianforte flack told Huffington Post that Gianforte’s speech was focused on “the idea that we should all be good stewards of the unique gifts and talents we each have been given,” but I don’t see how he can explain away the notion that cashing Social Security checks is somehow wrong, since we have an “obligation” to continue working.

The article also includes a link to a recording of Gianforte’s entire speech.

So here’s a mixed message to retirees: Montana is a great place to retire to, but one of the leading contenders to be our next governor thinks we all have an obligation to work until, apparently, we drop. Who knew that reforming the Social Security system was so simple.

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