Retiring at 60

When should we retire?

Conventional wisdom  has it that people should retire at age around 55.. But that was because in the past , an average person  died at age of 60 plus.

Life expectancy at birth is now about 75 , according to the latest UNICEF figures.

This means that for an average person who retires at 55, there will be 20 years of idle time . This also means that for an average person, if he retires at 55, he must find means to support himself for another 20 years. Compare this  with the average working life of about 30-35 years, and it means that for every one and half year an average person works, he must save up a year of expenses for retirement. But this is for the average person.

Even with a life expectancy of 75, there will be many  who die at 65.  For a person who dies at 65, it would mean that he needs only to save up for  10 years expenses after retirement, a prospect which many find not so bad.

For for everyone that dies at 65, there will be a person who dies at 85, and this person has to think of 30 years of expenses (with probably 30 years of working life).

The problem with all of us is that even with a life expectancy of 75, we will not know whether we belong to the group that dies at 65, and hence only needs 10 years saving for retirement or whether we will be in the group that dies at 85, and needs 30 years of saving to sustain us.

For the average population, retiring at 55 while the life expectancy has gone up means that it would be more difficult to sustain his expenses during his retirement. This is especially true  for health cost which tends to increase when a person gets older.. Since the older you get, the more medical problems you will have.

Just for this purposes, a person should be allow to work longer and retire later.

There are other reasons for supporting this. A person at 55 is still useful. In most cases, a person around 55 is  actually at or has just gone past his prime . By prime, i mean around 45-55, a golden age for any workforce– a person would have enough experience and yet has gone through certain trials and tribulations of life. So for a person at 55, it would be a waste of talents if he were to retire to a life of idleness.

There is thus a case of extending retirement age.

On the other hand, retirement age should be made more flexible, even if it is extended. It is because some of the people who, having worked all their lives, would like to try new adventures by opening their own business. There are also those who would like to travel and see the world. This group is of course the more well off group, and is not  really representative of the main work force.

So to cater for all workforce, I agree that minimum retirement age should be extended to 60, with the option that the person should be allowed to work longer if he wishes too, as long as he passes the requirement physical examination.

In extending retirement age, we should however, not forget the younger work force, and every chance must be taken to ensure that there are ample job opportunity and promotion chances for the young.. This will depend greatly on moving the economy onwards and upwards… expanding our economy and moving up the innovative ladder would do wonders in catering for the younger workforce while taking care of the older working population.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chanjoe1
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 10:39:22

    I am 54 this year and next year is my retirement age…and this matter bothers me very much. I feel so active as much as I was 40 years old. I know my company will extend my contract on a yearly basis but the thought of getting a yearly contract to continue is very disturbing knowing that I can contribute a lot and can do what I was and am doing now after next year. Even my friends were surprised that I am due for retirement next year as they all thought I am in my late 40s…probably due to my alertness, youthful look and my jovial working ways.
    I fully support that the age should be set at 60 but after 55, people can opt for early retirement.


  2. monsterball
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 12:58:11

    In the meantime….all old folks must find useful to something to do and not and sleep.
    Most have taken over looking after grandchildren..or gardening…collecting stamps..all cheap hobbies.
    I feel pity for all being retired at 55 years…for that is the age..the accumulated experiences are best to be used.
    However….vast majority Malaysians simple wage earners and the said retirement at 55 to make way for young simple jobs seekers is correct.
    One cannot think of the good brains be kept and all others ignored.
    It is easy to to judge and recommend ….but be involved and understand…is another matter.
    In commercial firms….bosses do not care about ages.
    Some are still working at 70 years old…valued and respected by their by bosses … in commercial firms…..productivity and results count.
    Back to Govt workers…the only way to extend the ages from 55 to 60 is to make sure Malaysia move forward .industry grows….services grows…every business grow…and Malaysia become so rich our neighboring countries…all growing.
    As long as we keep moving backward or stay progress in mentalities and behaviors our Govt….who keep playing dirty politics…forget all good ideas.
    Vote them out first….. than talk.


  3. monsterball
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 13:13:59

    chanjoe1….I know how you feel…but it will not change next year.
    Have you any plans to do something?
    Right now…I am sure you are looking forward to a new and free life…travelling to see all that you can and doing things you missed due to no time.
    That may take you 3 years and get bored…then it is 3 years too late to plan an on going life.
    I am lucky…I have by own business…and can work and retire at which age I like.
    I just found out..2 of my hawkers friends…just stop selling and took time to relax….at age 60.. i miss them as friends..and their food.
    Back to you…chanjoe1…you must know not everyone can have the best of both worlds.
    So if you fall into that catagory…you must not retire after retiring.
    You must look for jobs…or start a small business to keep your self busy busy.
    If you need any ideas…what to do..please ask and I will try to answer.
    Who knows you maybe a degree man and have no problems in getting a job and here I am worrying about your future..after reading your comment.


  4. sally
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 16:47:41

    Will there be enough jobs to go around? There are already too many job-seekers and not enough jobs! Moreover, it is very hard to get a job when you are over 55. You’ll have workers who are employable and employers unwilling to hire them. Some of them who are experienced and well educated are already sitting around idle. No one really wants to hire someone in their 50s. Perhaps they have higher medical bills/leaves compared to the sweet young enthusiastic ambitious person in their 20s or 30s. Thus the Management and HR attitudes need to change significantly. I think the sequel of this post should be age discrimination and unemployment amongst the over 50s. Yet, there would be many who are having three hour working lunches and endless meetings, luxurious company cars and paid vacations would support all out that the retirement age should be raised to 75.


  5. Richard Loh
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 19:57:47

    Allowing those over 55 years old that can still contribute and for some who may still need works in order to survive should be encouraged. But one worrying point is, ‘will they extend the age limit as well for EPF withdrawal’? I am sure this is in their mind as well when recommending the extended age of retirement.


  6. petestop
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 20:41:38

    I have no problem with extending the retirement age.

    However, I have a problem with extending the age when I can withdraw my EPF money. I believe I am more capable of managing my own money than EPF does with the pitiful return of below 6%.

    If one where to build up their sources of “passive” income from early age, then by the time they retire, they will have a constant source of income to support them till the end of their live, and even beyond. “Beyond” meaning that they can pass on this source of “passive” income to their next generation.

    Thus, extending retirement age is not the issue, it is the issue of educating the masses on their own financial management.

    If everyone were to retire later and later, then when will we give chance to the younger generation to take over ?


  7. CYC
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 21:04:46


    Perhaps extending EPF withdrawal age is the primary factor. We are broke we need EPF money to sustain the economy.

    I am agreeable with extending the retirement age but I have some reservation on govt servants retirement age. Don’t ask me why.


  8. cilipadi
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 10:01:39

    The word retirement is not for me
    I plant cilipadi until I drop dead
    instead of retirement at home grumbling, grumbling

    siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas


  9. streetfighter
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 11:48:59

    Who will believe that one will drop dead toiling in the hot sun when one could get lurative contract extended to plant poisonous bom here and there.Good job!
    Of course retirement should be out of question when one is so great of mumbo jumbo.More mumbling mumbling more reward from Big Dog.


  10. klm
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:10:41

    I had been through this retiring rigmarole and like to share my experience and thoughts. I stopped formal working at 55. I had worked with some big name multinational technology companies in my working life.

    1. Retiring at 55 or 60 or whatever age do not make any sense, at least in the private sector. The world is changing so fast that working till retirement in one company is difficult. It is getting to be an exception rather than the rule.

    2. Many of the big names companies do not guarantee a job for the employee if they no longer have the skill to fit in. One has to be responsible to constantly update one’s skill. Hence turnover of people is high.

    3. Many of the the big name firms don’t want you to work to 55 or 60. You cost too much. They can get younger workers for less. They could probably get 2 for what they pay you. So what if they are less experienced. Part of your experience is probably obsolete and not needed in the future anyway.

    4. There are so many changes going on especially in technology that it is faster to employ new graduates who are more up to date. See 2 & 3. It is easier to let the older people go than retrain them. This may not be true in Malaysia yet, but the trend is already there in other more advanced countries.

    5. If you have the expertise that cannot be replaced or not worth the investment in a new person, the company will keep employing you until it is no longer needed, no matter your age. The retiring age is just a formality.

    6. If things dont work out for the company, there the option for retrenchment.

    The retiring age is just a formality. The impact is more on EPF than on the person or company.


  11. Obs
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 13:22:15

    Retirement age depends on individual’s performance. There are good & experienced ones but there are ‘deadwoods’. Good/experienced ones would normally opt for early retirement and the deadwoods prefer to stay on. Regrets deadwoods are in existence, esp in govt depts.


  12. chanjoe1
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 14:08:11

    TQ monsterball for your very encouraging words and offer to help. Well I do have some plans lined up including being a hawker (my wife laughed at me), drive a cab, teach tuition, get a tour guide license or just retire and do some social work or even offer to help in the offices of local politicians and maybe get some sort of allowances. People coming to this crossroad will be spoilt for choices too and depends on how you want to take the issue. The only issue here is actually to keep myself occupied as I am the type who cant sit still the whole day.


  13. monsterball
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 16:04:18

    chanjoe 1….it depends on how much you need more money or not.
    I presume you have children married and working and all ma tell you to take it easy…and they will love and support you.
    It may also mean they are still in schools ans money needed for further educations that you may have planned ahead..saved or bough education insurance.
    Focus on how to get occupied….and it seems driving a taxi is ideal.
    Hawker food…must be with the best taste…..clean and cheap. One retired Muslim Govt servant set up a satay stall…and taste so so only.
    I advised him to seriously go and taste good satay sold…especially at at Kajang and told him ….it is all about the gravy and the meat. His chicken meat was all lean stuff. I told him to add some skins.
    His satay is now i great demand.
    That is a business that takes up his time…day and night.
    Give tuition…excellent idea….charge a fee that makes parents cannot refuse to send their children to you.
    Make just enough and prove yourself and help others.
    There are plenty social work available in all religions….foremost of all are orphanage homes and old folks homes….and you will feel so great helping the sick and needy everyday.
    But be sure you join one that have no crooked leaders to reap off all donations…while you are doing all the donkey jobs.


  14. ong
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 14:15:45

    Comment on post by: sally Sep 28, 2011 @ 16:47:41

    “Will there be enough jobs to go around? There are already too many job-seekers and not enough jobs! Moreover, it is very hard to get a job when you are over 55.”

    There is this thinking that older people who continue working beyond the present 55 retirement age will deprive new job seekers of job opportunities. I believe such thinking is a misconception and ignores the fact that when older people continue to remain in the work force, they actually create other job opportunities or younger new entrants to the work force.

    By remaining gainfully employed, they continue to have an income which they will no doubt continue to spend. Their act of spending by itself will create new job opportunities.

    The part about being “very hard to get a job when you are over 55” is certainly true, but only if we are referring to older people trying to get new jobs. It is therefore even more imperative that people who at 55 are still fit, healthy and willing to continue working must not be compulsorily retired.


  15. kc yoo
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 22:37:38

    I fully support Dr Hsu’s view. The fact that majority of population now has life expectancy of 75 means that he/she will be “idling” for 20 years? Isn’t this a big waste (in productivity)? Consider this:
    How come most pilots in the world retires at 65 (& not younger)? & judges? Does that mean that in M’sia, attaining 55 years means NOT FIT to work any more??
    In New Zealand, there is no retirement age !
    How come politicians have no retirement age? are they superior beings/species? Aren’t they limiting the opportunities for the younger ones?
    In Japan, old people are tasks at toll both (give tickets), but in M’sia, young energetic girls are forced to sit there for hours!!
    In S’pore airports, old people are tasks to do light cleaning work, in M’sia airport many imported labourers are at it!
    If it is truly physical limitations, then set the law that it is illegal (& hazardous) to work beyond 55 for ALL SECTORS (politicians, directors, advisers etc).


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