You raised an issue that many JWs in my congregation and district consider a very sore subject indeed. For many assumed that Jehovah would have destroyed this world by now, letting them off the hook from financial obligations that face retirees in this system of things. And not to mention that many JWs feel remorse and guilt from their ill-fated decisions not to attend college.
Many JWs I have spoken with have privately confessed knowing in their heart of hearts that the Society's advice on not continuing education and creating a good career was very foolish advice that left no contingency for Jehovah himself. They realize it is JEHOVAH and not individuals who cannot possibly know the day or hour (as not even the Son knows) who will decide the ultimate timetable and countdown to Armageddon. As it turns out, this generation is indeed passing away but not to pave the way for a new millennium, but for another generation of people who will worship God and learn the truth. As such, Armageddon could very well occur centuries from now, long after the Moon and Mars are colonized and travel to other solar systems is realized. Believe it or not, that possibility is less scary than considering that God may simply change his mind and direct mankind through his Holy Spirit and Son to restore Earth to "paradise" through technology that is governed by the very laws He originally created.
At what age do I plan to retire?
Well, as one who took the "wisdom" from the Governing Body with a healthy grain of salt, I created a successful career involving working with high tech corporations over the past twenty years. I also obtained a Bachelors in Business Administration to allow for greater income upward mobility. Recently I was earning in one year what the average employee earned in three years.
One brother gave me a stunning perspective of this by saying that it is as if I was earning the same as the average employee, except I get a two year paid vacation every three years. It's actually even more pronounced because every year I'm racking up the equivalent of three years compensation for an average employee, so that in ten years I have been paid what it takes thirty years for the average employee to make.
As a JW who has allowed freedom of thought to triumph over thought-control, I feel proud of this accomplishment and for having chosen a career that I have always wanted since childhood as the frosting on the cake. As a result of all this, Jan, I'm now semi-retired, owning a home without any mortgage in one of the most expensive real estate markets in America. I enjoy the intellectually stimulating work with corporations that I do, and don't wish to enter full retirement until at least 60 or 65 years of age. (I'll wait to age 67.5 to collect the fully allowable Social Security benefits by law.)
I wish that especially young JWs reading this (but without exception to any JW reading this) would accept the blessings from a good career and fruitfully planned retirement that Jehovah gave Job and His other faithful children throughout human history. Remember that the Governing Body can easily tell you not to pursue these blessings "just in case" Armageddon is near, simply because they live rich lives at Bethel. They eat meals that are more bountiful and nutritious than many many billionaires because in truth they are billionaires without a care in the world. They are already retired and set for life IOW. Why should you, brothers and sisters who are reading this, believe that Jehovah wants you to economically suffer? The Psalmist prayed for neither poverty or riches, and yet many JWs will die in abject poverty because they didn't make the preparations necessary to live fruitfully.
I chose a career that I enjoyed and had talent in because it would make my years of hard work meaningful. I got a degree to give me the necessary access to corporate resources and a job that would fulfill my career objectives. Even if you get a degree over the Internet through a reputable and accredited University it is well worth its weight in gold, especially in this deepening recession. When we come out of the recession with no Armageddon in sight then this degree will carry us through to the bitter end of human life that none of us can escape and even those God loved most in Bible history faced. Every decade that Armageddon is delayed, millions more accept Christ as their Savior and Jehovah as their God. The price for their salvation is our experiencing the sting of death that all must accept on our road to everlasting life.