Earl Johnston was 12 when he got his first job, a paper route that he quickly expanded by "buying out" additional routes from other, less industrious boys.
After high school, he enrolled in a program to become an industrial electrician.
"With that journeyman's card in my back pocket, I had never had trouble finding work — ever," he said.
Like many people in the prime of their working life, Johnston, now 56, always thought he would have plenty set aside for retirement, and if he didn't, he could always work a little longer. "At least up to 65," he thought.