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.