The upcoming generation of seniors can expect to experience a considerably different retirement from that of their parents. With life expectancy rising the average worker should not expect to retire in their 60s but later at age 70 or later. They will have to work longer and save more money before they can retire and enjoy their retirement years.
Government officials say it was inevitable that the retirement age would rise as healthcare improved. We are forced to extend the working age for the average citizen to match the increase in life expectancy. Improvements in modern medicine and lifestyle improvements have one in four British males born today expected to reach the age of 100. This increases in life expectancy lead the government to raise the retirement age for economic purposes. Government officials claim raising the retirement age will save the British tax payer around 13 billion GBP a year.
Some employers are reluctant about the increase in retirement age and fear a decline in the quality of their workforces. Employers have noted that the performance of older workers decline with age. Older workers exhibit a reduced capacity to work and have health or safety concerns younger workers do not. Not only do older workers experience increased sickness but they exhibit a lessened interest in their jobs. These workers begin to coast as they near retirement age and their performance on the job decreases. Having these workers on the job longer could have a negative affect on other workers. These employers fear the quality of their workforce might decline as a result of the increasing the retirement age.
Some also contend that raising the retirement age will make it difficult for young people entering the workforce and eventually raise their unemployment rates. Retirement has been used as a way to phase out older workers and make way for new workers. Raising the retirement age will create a shortage of jobs in an already difficult economy. The shortage of jobs among young workers could cause resentment toward older workers if they are unable to find work.
The increase in the retirement age is also seen as a disadvantage to seniors who are working class or manual laborers. Because of the strenuous nature of their jobs they may have difficulty reaching a higher retirement age. Corporate types, who make more money, can afford to retire early before they receive their pensions and enjoy an early retirement on their savings. But, the working class will have to work longer at strenuous jobs to reach their retirement age and live off their pension.
Advocates of the working class say raising the retirement age is actually an attack on the poor and will send Britain back to the days of Charles Dickens. It was a time when the wealthy could retire from working but the poorer classes were forced to work until the day they died. Wealthy people have access to better health care and can work longer to enjoy a later retirement age. Whereas the poor who are unable to afford the best in healthcare can develop ailments that may prevent them from reaching the proposed retirement age to enjoy their pensions.
The increase in retirement age is seen as a reaction to current social changes. This response by the government could have a negative effect on workforce performance and quality of life for the poor. To counter some of the backlash over the new retirement age the government should create more jobs to ease unemployment among the young and help businesses utilize the experience of seniors with more funding for apprentice programs.
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About The Author:
Frank is a keen cyclist and writes for investment consultancy Aon Hewitt among other businesses on a wide variety of subjects.