What you do not mention at all is that over the course of acquiring that wisdom, we have struggled against hardship many times, and increasingly, as we ourselves were ok, helped others do the same. We understand the importance of helping others - not because we are forced to by government laws and taxation, but because it is the right, the caring, the human thing to do. So do not assume the elderly do not contribute both time/energy and money to charities and church-based good works. Oh, and buying "luxuries" means somebody gets paid to provide them. I am constantly amazed at widespread inability to understand how economies work.