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Retirement Age


I heard once that immediately after the 2nd World War the average length of time people spent in retirement was three years. Whether this refered to men only I don't know, but even so it is a striking statistic. What is the average length of retirement now?

In the UK, men survive on average to age 75, and women to age 80. This means that men live an average of 10 years in retirement, assuming retirement at age 65, and women live an average of 20 years in retirement, assuming retirement at age 60. Lets say an overall average of 15 years in retirement. That is, 5 times longer than in 1945.

Whatever an individual might do to 'finance' his or her own retirement does not change the fundamental fact that the working population has to physically support those in retirement - that is. work more to support those no longer working. As increasing numbers remain in full time education until age 21 or older, the time left for workers to actually be productive is further reduced.

These two factors combine to increase the pressure on working age people, who inevitably have to increase their working hours in order to support those who are not working. No wonder that effective retirement age is actually falling as people aim to take early retirement, or else are made redundant in their fifties, never to work again.

At the same time, although many people may be fit and healthy at the official age of retirement, they are forced to retire, and in fact lose all their employment rights.

Would it not make sense to allow those beyond 60/65 to continue to work and continue to enjoy employment rights?

Copyright 2005 Paul Mackilligin