BP #12:

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This week I came across a different kind of article than I would usually pick. The article talked about how public school teachers, charity workers, and many employees of religious organizations have very mediocre retirement plans. In fact, many have very low investment rates with interest rates that are too high. Many of these people have to put off retirement longer in order to work to safe enough and many have to life off less than they normally would because of the low savings. The article offers tips for people in these types of job on how to increase your retirement fund for the future. However, looking at face value, there is something seriously wrong with people who devote their work lives to giving back to the community and yet they are not given the financial support in their retirement years that many business careers offer.

When thinking of how to relate this to class I began thinking it is morally wrong to let these people have smaller retirement funds when they do so much for the community. I kept thinking how miserable it must be to not have a solidified future after working and how unhappy they must be. However, I kept equating their happiness to money. I was not using Aristotle’s version of happiness which involves being a virtuous and morally optimal human being. I simply thought that because they were not receiving retirement funds that were similar to many business jobs that they must be unhappy. I never took into account why they chose their profession or why they get up every day and do what they do. I asked my cousin, who is a public school teacher, why she teaches. Her response was that she loved being able to make a difference in a child’s life and see the smile on their face when they figured out a problem or assignment. She said she did it for the kids because they are our future and she wanted to give back. So while I still think teachers should be more financially supported in their retirements, I also am beginning to understand Aristotle’s version of happiness. While teachers, charity workers, and religious organization employees may not have the most money, they might just be the wealthiest of us all because of the job they do every day and the joy that it brings them.

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