The end of retirement

Protesting pensioners
Around the world, from Finland to Kenya, the retirement age is rising. Money has gone from pension funds, governments need workers to stay on longer to keep the economy going, some simply want the opportunity to be able to work into their 70s. So do we need a retirement age?

This case has been going through the European Courts regarding the age of retirement here (65) led Gordon Lishman from Age Concern to say they would continue to fight to:

“ensure that older British workers are judged on their skills and abilities rather than their age.”

Already 2.2 million Britons- due to retire this year- are delaying it because of the pensions crisis.

And – broadly speaking – we’re living longer.

So, for economic and health reasons, should we be allowed to work as long as we want ?

Or, as this article puts it, time to retire retirement ?

20 Responses to “The end of retirement”

  1. 1 gary
    March 6, 2009 at 12:17

    Very fortunately, for me the current situation is in exact accordance with my plans: I’ve always intended to work until I die. I enjoy teaching and so long as I can arrive at class and deliver a coherent lecture, I will continue. Afterwards, countless charitable organizations need volunteers and I will serve until I am no longer able. Tinkering, watching TV, reading, or staring at the ocean all seem fairly useless, boring ways to wait for death.

  2. 2 nora
    March 6, 2009 at 13:12

    Never for one moment did I think that the stock market was going to be the magic bullet for boomer retirement. Given a few dollars to invest in 2001, I chose instead to reprint a poster I did in 1979 of Che Guevara. An older, wistful Che with his buttons straining on his tummy. Needless to say, Che on his acid free paper has held up as the superior investment. College students still love him in each new freshman class.

  3. 3 John
    March 6, 2009 at 13:13

    Well, this is a tricky one. A typical example, Kenya, there are increased cases of unemployment, reason, that majority of the population is made up of the youth. I feel that in such cases, the younger generation should be allowed to work and let the elderly who have been working way back since the youth were born! What’s more, the elderly seem not to focus on what the youth want! So things should really change.

  4. 4 Bob in Florida
    March 6, 2009 at 13:45

    I believe that people should have the option to work as long as they want and that traditional age 65 retirement should be a thing of the past. Retirement should be voluntary.

    In addition to the problems of supporting retirees either through company pensions, already a thing of the past, or government programs, people are already having problems saving for retirement even with 401(k)s. I agree with Gary, sitting around waiting to die is no way to live. There is way too much that needs to be done to waste valuable human talent doing nothing.

    We have all heard stories of people dying a short time after retirement. People need to stay engaged and make a contribution either in a job or as a volunteer, if you are fortunate enough to not have to earn a living.

  5. March 6, 2009 at 14:17

    Men are not horses and even horses get tired at old age. Older generations by nature give way to the younger. At middle age, man should have worked sustenance plan to live on after the all Civil & Secular whatever. I can’t imagine feeling safe where the Police security of above 50 yrs. The old might be wiser based on wider experience ( some times gained from trial and error ) nevertheless, youth force is Ireplacable. The aged people should accept that in all walks of life (even in governance), the new generation need a chance.

  6. March 6, 2009 at 14:26

    Live as Long as You’re Needed!
    TEHRAN – The older generation and pensioners in Iran feel increasingly left out. They can’t afford the rising cost of rent, utilities, food and healthcare. Inflation means devaluation, less purchasing power for specific sums over a ten-year period. They can’t fall back on their children who have their own problems. The whole notion of social security, pensions and government assistance has changed over the years. Live as long as you’re useful is the only reasonable solution.
    Why not let old timers earn a living by doing housework and caring for children? Asia and Africa have come to terms with the problem. Why not Europe and America?

  7. March 6, 2009 at 14:29

    About a year ago I shocked a coworker when I said, “I don’t expect the stock market to exist when we retire. The whole concept is just based on too much faith instead of solid logic.” A few days back our circles brought us to work together again. He shook his head and reminded me how crazy he thought I was only a year ago.

    “Retirement age” is only required for societies where the government sponsors the retirement. It is the age where you start collecting those funds. Whether that is enough to spend a life of unemployment is completely dependant on individual metrics. Although at a certain age you should be forced to seek other employment then elected politicians.

  8. 8 Steve in Boston
    March 6, 2009 at 14:29

    With all the free money being handed out by Obama, I’m actually planning on retiring early! Surely he will bail out us boomers who blew our 401(k)’s in the stock market. Maybe he’ll even pay us extra to retire early and free up jobs for younger people!

    Why should I kill myself working? I’d only have my money taken away to be handed out to the 30 million people here on food stamps. Who in his right mind would want to do that? I thought Lincoln freed the slaves.

    So why give a hoot about the economy and lost retirement accounts? Big Daddy Obama will take care of us all!

    Three cheers for Barak Obama!!! It’s great to be an American!

  9. 9 Dennis Junior
    March 6, 2009 at 14:54

    I know, that here in the United States, I will probably NEVER will be able to retire…

    -Dennis Junior

  10. 10 Savane, Nairobi
    March 6, 2009 at 15:16

    I’m with John on this one!

    Kenya is a country whose older generation (55+ years old) is not willing to retire….from the public and private sectors! The government is trying to increase the retirement age to 60! Meanwhile, 65% of Kenya’s population is under 30!

    It’s ridiculous because they aren’t just ‘factors of production’, they are the owners of it too! “Wait your turn, let us show you how it’s done” is a common and unfortunate phrase.

    We are constantly reminded that we are the ‘youth’ (I’m 41!) And ageism is a challenge I continue to face 16 years after I started working. I don’t qualify as ‘youth’ – my 12-year old is one of the ‘youth’!

    The current economic recession has become the latest excuse for them to stay in employment longer!

    We have an idle, agitated yet employable population, in a politically volatile country that is dominated by a generation that recycles old ideas that don’t work, but believe they hold the ‘secret to success’, that (1) is no longer a secret, and (2) doesn’t produce tangible results to build on! because ‘it’s’ been recycled too many times!

    Funnily enough, the older generation likes to remind us frequently of the senior positions they held in the public and private sectors, when they were in their mid 20s to early 30s, just after Kenya became independent in 1963!!

    “The youth are the future of Kenya”, we are frequently told…….
    …..BUT what they don’t say is……
    “The future will only begin when I die!”

  11. 11 Anthony
    March 6, 2009 at 15:44

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m living my life like my retirement funds (my 401k) will be gone someday (I’m 28 years old right now). Especially now with all this stuff going on!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  12. 12 Katharina in Ghent
    March 6, 2009 at 15:46

    Did anyone ever think about how difficult it is for a young person – especially in economically difficult times – to find employment? Incidentally, this is the time where a lot of the Baby Boomers will go into retirement; if they all stay in their jobs, with a general increase in unemployment , what shall become of the young people? The old folks should leave to make space for the youngsters.

  13. March 6, 2009 at 16:27

    Welp, I’m 65. Went and served in our wars as an infantry type, then smokejumped for 25 years and I make a $1,000 a month retirement and because the Democrates ruled on the idea that anyone with a government retirement can’t get the Social Security retirement of $1,200 when they reach full retirement age of 70….they say I’ll get $200 a month then. Also they passed a bill that allows immigrents who have never worked and paid into social security to harvest from it.

    The system is a bit strange if you ask me so I’m happily at work in my private company trying to survive. In the old days $8,000 a year smokejumping was plenty, but now $10,000, $12,000 a year is impossible to live on.

    When I get too old to go fight in the dog eat dog of private commerce, thinking about going to the Philippines and live there a humble, but adequate life of eating and swimming by the sea. Just too bad can’t do that in America the way things are going.


  14. 14 Shunjing
    March 6, 2009 at 16:33

    I hope to retire early and write a book.

  15. 15 Bob in Florida
    March 6, 2009 at 19:56

    The idea that work should be left to the young and that older workers should step aside is unacceptable. This idea first assumes that there is some clear delineation of age, like 65, and that there are programs to take care of non-working elderly. On the other hand older workers need to do their part. It is just as unacceptable for older workers to continue living in and reminding others of the past and not keep up with technology and new ways of doing things. As I said in an earlier post, people must remain engaged regardless of age.

    Admittedly there are some occupations that are more sensitive to age than others. But people in all professions, I believe, should acquire a broad range of skills and knowledge so that they can reinvent themselves when necessary in order to continue to earn a living and continue being productive members of society.

  16. March 6, 2009 at 21:00

    Its a mixed bag.
    In our country, the retirement age is 55 if you are a government employee and 60 if you work for a para-statal. It has to do with the receipt of pension. Those in the Government service qualify for a Government pension at 55 but the national pension from which they and other workers benefit does not kick in until y ou are 60. So, even if you may be capable and have all y our faculties about you, at age 55 you have to take retirement- a number of people say they live in conditions that mirror poverty on retirement and many seek employment elslewhere or try to create their own employment to help make ends meet. Personally, if someone can make a valuable contribution to work even after age 60 they should not be denied, but where does one find employment for the thousands of young people who are on the unemployment heap?

  17. 17 Shakhoor Rehman
    March 7, 2009 at 12:05

    Retirement is the totem which gets far too much attention at the expense of what is of vastly greater importance: the work and life balance. People work far too long worldwide at the expense of matters intellectual and spiritual whatever ever age they are after they start their “working life”. Its that old Protestant work ethic claptrap which has a lot to answer for.

  18. 18 parth guragain,Nepal
    March 9, 2009 at 11:21

    Here in Nepal people after retirement are looked after by their children and due to modernisation families are broken.children treat their parents as burden more and more so it is best for the person working to decide when he or she should retire.until and unless the efficacy of work is not hampered age shouldn’t be kept for retirement.

  19. 19 Caley, Singapore
    March 9, 2009 at 19:01

    As long as an individual, irregardless of age, is health physically, mentally & spiritually, can put their skills to good use, and still contribute positively to society at large, there really should be no reason why they should not be given a chance to work should they still choose to (for whatever reason/s), this as long as suitable work is available for them.

    The years of prior working experience these ‘mature’ individuals have would definitely have a much greater & far reaching impact on the work environment over the younger but less experienced individual.

    The attitudes and mindset of some of the younger generation (who have grown up in more comfortable times) leaves a lot to be said. These young individuals have yet to fully grasp the true meaning of hard work and self discipline.

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