Does Society Need to re-think The Need for Retirement?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 26th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/_p_qg665/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Retirement

A quarter of the average workforce could be nearing retirement age in the next five years and this writer questions conventional wisdom in relation to taking fit and active people away from the workforce when they are both willing and able to perform actively. Indeed the UK has recently changed its thinking and no longer has a mandatory retirement age.

64 and fit; 65 and dead!

There is a picture painted that we retire to enjoy the finery's in life. Yet all too often the fit 64 year old turns into the dead 65 year old; in one instance dying two weeks after his retirement party. Once forced to retire this individual no longer had any useful contribution to make, dying of boredom in his two bedroom apartment. His whole life was centred around his work and retiring effectively meant the end of his life. Granted this is unusual, but it does make the point that simply reaching a certain age should not mean that people can no longer have a role to play.

In many instances work adds value to a person's life and they can be as effective at 75 as they are at 45.

No Time When I will Retire

This writer has often stated that he does not see a time when he will retire; but at the same time it is known that there is a time in everyone's life when it is necessary to change priorities and this I am always doing.

Personally this means using my time as I please, in part mentoring others, perhaps earning a living by writing, speaking and advising others, without any form of retirement in that future. Included in that is time to fix up the house and tend the garden, take extended vacations, etc. but priorities are something that each person should decide for themselves, but we should not allow past thinking to cloud the thinking of today.

Eroded Savings Value

For many there are concerns about funding, especially as the recent recession has eroded the value or even decimated many pension funds. Forecasts for retirement savings certainly remain very bleak indeed, even as the economy seeks to recover. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute large numbers of workers say they aren’t at all confident about their retirement prospects. Indeed the amount of savings that individuals have remains low with people underestimating their retirement needs - this is not an easy problem to fix, especially if you will be reaching the traditional retirement age sometime over the next 10 years. It may seem that continued work may be the only option. Yet should this matter? In fact the majority of people like working, even in mundane jobs, because of the social interactions that it brings.

One of the consequences of forcing people retire at a fixed age is the possibility that you lose key knowledge holders from the business. This is not so much an argument about transitioning technical knowledge associated with any job, but a question leveraging available skills appropriately across the business. Obviously any job should have a succession path, this is essential for disaster preparedness within any organisation. But knowing successors is not the same argument here is not one that is associated with retirement, after-all a 35 year old key employee can die unexpectedly. We do have to be conscious of the fact that the brain does not cease to function as we reach our 65th birthday.

Life Expectency

It is known that life expectancy today compared to 100 years ago is much higher and is expected to continue rising well into the future. Combined with this is the fact that we know more about how our bodies function than ever before. Across the planet we are living healthier lifestyles today compared to the past and we tend to exercise more. (Of course there are anomalies here but we do have a choice not to be a couch potato.) The key point is that with an increasingly fit population combined with a mobile workforce, including a larger percentage that can work from home. Is there any need for enforced retirement practices any-more?

This writer does not believe so. For those that wish to retire they may. But for others there is no reason people cannot continue working well into their 70's, or even 80's. For other there is no reason why we should not retire young. Ideas do not stop flowing at that age; an ability to be productive does not cease at the age of retirement, so why cause people's careers to end? There is a belief by some thinkers that with a lifetime of experience behind them these people may be the best candidates to teach at all levels. Some people may wish to retire from their original career then move on to other types of work.

Saving for a Rainy day

Of course we do need to save for a rainy day, is that for our retirement? Perhaps, but that depends on you. The other option where we do need to save may also be for that time when the next recession comes because it is coming. This is something you have to think through for yourself. Overall we should be suggesting to our governmental representatives to rethink the whole issue of retirement, particularly the laws relating to the age and enforcement. This also means we have to rethink our own future plans because we should always be in control of your own life.

Picture Credits

The pictures and images for this articles were sourced from the following locations:

  • Old man in suit by fabulousfaces.com
  • Exclamation point by Peter Giblett
  • Dollars and cents from IMSI (Royalty free collection owned by author)
  • Life Expectancy chart by Learner.org

Other things by this author

Peter Giblett regularly publishes here on Wikinut and contributes a semi-regular column on 2 Drops of Ink, a site dedicated to the improvement of writing, grammar, and prose and his own blog called GobbledeGoox. Recent works on Wikinut include:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Dead 65 Year Old, Enjoy The Fineries In Life, Fit 64 Year Old, Forced To Retire, Life Expectancy, Mandatory Retirement, No Longer Have A Role, Reaching A Certain Age, Retire, Retirement, Useful Contribution To Make

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar kaylar
27th Sep 2015 (#)

You brought up a number of points.

One of them is the chronological age vs that on the birth certificate.

If a person is 65 yet in good health, full brain, why retire unless they want to?

If a person wants to work, let him/her work and create some policy as to either pay the Social Security to the person or into an interest bearing account that when they are ready, they tap.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Sep 2015 (#)

I know a person who has retired, eventhough he is in his 40s - he worked for 15 years as a stock broker and made his fortune that way - then realised everything he had missed in life and simply retired, he dabbles in the stock market and makes enough for himself and that is all he needs. On the other side there are those who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s who go out to work. One of Canada's richest men is in his 90s and works every day.

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author avatar Carol Roach
27th Sep 2015 (#)

yes people should not be forced to retire but if they do, they have to make a new life with new pleasurable things to do. Not every retired person is unhappy and sitting around waiting to die.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Sep 2015 (#)

My aunt works for the state pensions department in the UK and apparently the new law that allows for a person to choose their own retirement age is having a dramatic affect as people continue to work for a longer time.

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author avatar Retired
27th Sep 2015 (#)

There are dangers here. The current system, of old age pensions paid by the state, is based on the premise that people should not be forced to work until they die, simply because they cannot afford not to. If this principle is watered down and pensions no longer provide a living wage in one's later years, the old evils could return.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Sep 2015 (#)

Part of the problem John is that, even with state supported pensions, the income people have is simply not adequate to support them for the rest of their lives. In the UK there are too many old people living in poverty. This total increases exponentially where there is no state pension support.

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author avatar M G Singh
27th Sep 2015 (#)

You have raised a very important point. I think ultimately the concept of no forced retirement will come. Frankly there is no need to have a age of retirement. Times have changed

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Sep 2015 (#)

I agree.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
29th Sep 2015 (#)

Peter thanks for sharing such a great article and congratulations on the gold star. I think that everyone that is able should be allowed to work for as long as they want. I know that some people simply cannot handle retirement. They never made a life outside of work and that is very sad. Then there are others that have many interests and live a very enjoyable life in their later years. I myself would like to write until I'm maybe 130. LOL

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
29th Sep 2015 (#)

Developing other interests seems to me as vitally important, but then I have never been tied down by conventional thinking and intend to go on doing new things for many many years to come.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th Oct 2015 (#)

Thought provoking Peter. I am semi-retired now - on call, but frequency is less by the day and I am comfortable with it.

There are few issues I have faced/noted. One is the nature of job. If it is stress-filled and without let up, then better to let go like I did. There are some jobs one can go on and on till our time here is finally called! And then if one is self-employed retirement is not forced by others.

One should have clear plans that are practical. Some financial planners base income on last drawn pay and I don't buy that - for example, I rarely buy new clothes as they would outlive me - just cut cloth according to coat!

If one is fit, flexible, and willing I feel there are jobs waiting. I remember an almost ninety year old man telling me and I quote him "unemployment is only for lazy folks" - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th Oct 2015 (#)

Siva, it is true that as I have grown older I want for less - I have plenty of clothes (and some that are in pretty good condition for an outfit that is 20 years old) and adequate other things. We spend less today, but I am not retiring - I choose the projects I work on and when, but I don't have a pension.

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