There was a PBS documentary on this recently, and I read an article in the New Yorker about this. Personally, I can’t see a writer ever retiring. If they do, it is certainly not a big announcement like the CEO’s of big companies make, or sports figures that are going to retire. If writers do retire, I think they keep on writing. Perhaps their survivors publish some new works after their death.
I would think that, unlike some professions, you don’t lose your edge, as you get older, like in athletics, when your body can’t keep up with the younger people. Practice makes you better and as long as you still have your mind, I suppose an older writer would still write things worth reading about. New stories may have more depth from life experience, as well as a different POV because an older person would see the world through different eyes.
The word retirement wasn’t even around a couple of centuries ago. Most everyone probably expected to work as long as they could get up and do the job. Today, most people want to take advantage of retirement benefits, or the savings they have accumulated that will enable them to travel and not be obligated to work. However, is writing really an obligation? I view it as more of a pleasure, but also an incurable disease because I have to write.
Many of us writers probably don’t make enough to live on the income we receive from writing, but we are compelled to write because it is in our blood. Perhaps if you have another job you can eventually retire from that, which will leave you more time to write, as well as some retirement income from the job that was earning your living.
Will you ever retire from writing, having used up all your inspiration and everything you had to say? I don’t think I ever will. I can see myself still writing until I drop dead, unless I don’t have the faculties to put any sentences together anymore.