I’ve discussed before the threat of working in “retirement” involuntarily because you haven’t saved enough, and must rejoin the workforce to make ends meet. (Read Part I, II, III, and IV of my series on How Many “Retirees” Will Keep Working?).
Working through your golden years because you can’t afford to stop is an unfortunate reality for too many Americans, but there are some people who, for reasons beyond finances, may find working past retirement age beneficial. Some people enjoy the routine and the social interaction of their jobs. For them, living 30 years of retirement with no plans and no goals could get boring. That’s why I’ve encouraged you, even if you’re not working in retirement, to “Do Something.”
In The Guardian (UK), Robin McKie writes of retirees with decades more to live:
Sarah Harper has a personal take on early retirement. “My father stopped work at 54,” says Professor Harper, founder of the Institute for Population Ageing at Oxford University. “His employers, IBM, offered him early retirement. He was really excited at the prospect.”
But the voluntary work and further education that Robert Harper had lined up for his later years dwindled and eventually disappeared and he was forced to become increasingly self-reliant in trying to find ways to pass the time.
“He eventually found that challenging and often said he missed the stimulus of colleagues and work.”
Robert Harper died in 2015 after living for more than 30 years on an IBM pension, longer than his employment with the company. It is a skewed lifestyle that is becoming all too common, says Harper, whose Foresight committee was responsible for the 2016 report Future of an Ageing Populationwhich said Britain’s ageing population should be encouraged to lead longer working lives.
Life expectancy in Britain has risen steadily for decades as improved sanitation and antibiotics have vanquished most infectious diseases. Similarly, chronic ailments such as heart disease and cancer have been slowly succumbing to medical interventions. As a result the average lifespan in Britain has risen inexorably – from just under 50 in 1900 to over 75 in 2000 – and that figure, with the occasional stutter, has continued to rise.
In addition, family sizes are smaller so that numbers of older people have increased proportionally within the population. That has consequences for the makeup of our workforce. In coming years, more of our population will be people over 50. They will have to maintain productivity and stoke the fires of industry. Yet these are also the people being encouraged to retire early.
“We have said to young people: stay in education until your mid-20s, retire in your mid-50s and live to your 90s,” says Harper. So we have people working for only 25 years to contribute to a 90-year lifespan. That is not the way society should be working.”
Read more here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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