Why is it rational to invest in retirement? I don’t get it.

I know I said I’d be gone… but this was just a com­ment origi­nally, and I no­ticed it may ac­tu­ally be rele­vant.

Elharo said in Munchkin Ideas:

Put as much money as you can af­ford into tax ad­van­taged re­tire­ment ac­counts. In the U.S. that means 401K, 403b, IRA, SEP, etc.

I’m in­ter­ested in the fol­low­ing:

Why should peo­ple in­vest in re­tire­ment? Or, in­stead, why should some­one in­vest as much as most do in re­tire­ment.

Few facts that make it a bog­gling ques­tion for me:

You are 10% to 20% likely to die be­fore you en­joy even your first re­tire­ment year.

Peo­ple ad­just much more to harsh eco­nom­i­cal con­di­tions than they be­lieve they would. They re­main happy, as many stud­ies by Selig­man and oth­ers show.

Peo­ple who re­tire are only hap­pier as re­tirees if they re­tired by choice (I lost the pa­per, sorry).

Most peo­ple here live in rich coun­tries—darn, hate to be the ex­cep­tion! - , and their state would hap­pily provide them with at least the max­i­mal re­tire­ment plan le­gal in my coun­try (aprox 2000 dol­lars/​month). And surely would provide them with dou­ble the min­i­mal (about 200/​month) if they needed.

If you have de­scen­dants, they may sup­port you in case you are still al­ive, and if you are not rich enough to keep a house, you have a good ex­cuse to be in com­pany of loved ones (you have nowhere else to go).

Last, but not least: That per­son is not even you that much any­way.

Given all that, I have no clue what the whole fuss about re­tire­ment plans, and be­ing 60% of a rich old per­son with a crappy body is all about, spe­cially if you are in the grave.

I mean, in the cry­op­reser­va­tion cham­ber, of course.

Edit: A re­lated ques­tion not worth its own post, but maybe worth dis­cussing, is Should in­her­i­tance “jump” a gen­er­a­tion. Every­one in­her­it­ing from grand­par­ents, in­stead of par­ents? Just the ab­stract eth­i­cal ques­tion. Re­gard­less of im­ple­men­ta­tion pro­ce­dure.