Social Question

eden2eve's avatar

Do you think that retirement age should be tied to life expectancy?

Asked by eden2eve (3693points) June 1st, 2010

Some of the countries in the civilized world have raised retirement age, apparently in response to the higher life expectancy of their citizens.

According to this article in the Ny Times, “In the United States, where private-sector workers born in 1960 and later already have to work to 67 to gain full Social Security benefits, government officials are looking for ways to reduce the costs of ballooning public sector pensions and are pressuring unions to agree to later retirement dates.”

I know that there are many economic reasons for such changes, but when does it get to be unreasonable to expect the senior citizens to give up their hopes for their future?

Should retirement ages be tied to increases in life expectancy, and how high should it go? If it’s simply based upon these statistics, would it reach a breaking point where people would have no opportunity to enjoy their retirement years? Being aged beyond those more energetic and healthful years, but perhaps just experiencing a longer period of declining health and less vigorous life style doesn’t seem to give aging people much to look forward to, does it? Could this be a form of ageism?

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15 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Hell no!

Our world and work ethic sucks the big banana!

I am 50 and as active and extraverted as I am, I have zero desire to work until I drop like a cart horse from the last century.

‘Retirement’ does not mean retiring from life but from the hardcore rat race, the bills that kill.

It is a sad commentary on ‘modern’ life that humans are expected to work until they drop dead.

I have worked part time the last 5 years and hope to continue.

We are not human DOINGS, we ARE human BEINGS.

This is the # 1 ‘problem’ of this ’ modern’ lifestyle…no body gets to enjoy their being because they are forced to keep doing untill death do we part.

It is one thing to work because you have something to contribute and receive joy from that giving, it is entirely another to be forced by circumstance to hobble along in a lame condition until you collapse under the yoke of necessity.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

You have to consider the impact of these workers not leaving the work force. I read recently that people are staying at their jobs longer to make ends meet, but this means fewer jobs are available for people entering the workforce. It becomes a vicious cycle after a while. No new workers paying into the Social Security fund means there are less funds to pay benefits.

Social Security needed to be fixed with tax increases long ago. The Baby Boom bomb has been ticking for generations; it’s not like the Government didn’t know about it. Life expectancies have also been increasing for generations; they’ve known about that, too.

I’m 61, and 5 years from now, I am outta here, baby. Make somebody else pay for it.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think SS and retirement age should be dependent on life expectancy, but I don’t mind at all if they pay a lower benefit if you take it at an earlier age. I don’t like that they lock in the lower amount though (that is if I understand how it works correctly). At least IRA’s are 59.5 wihout penalty.

@IchtheosaurusRex It actually doesn’t really matter, from what I can figure, whether it is an older person or a younger person paying into Social Security, same money into the government. What does matter is giving young people the opportunity to work. I

f medicaire started at an earlier age it would help with getting senior citizens out of the workforce I think. If we had single payer health insurance would not be a consideration at all for retirement, but that is another topic.

Pandora's avatar

@Coloma Man/Women has always work till we died. Only in the old days that meant about 40 or 50 unless you were rich. I think it should depend on you and your employer. If at 65 you no longer desire to work than it should be fine. Or if your employer feels you are no longer a valuable asset because it takes you twice as long to do the same job than you can be let go at 62 with SS benefits.
But there are people who have no problem continuing doing a fantastic job past 65 and really don’t want to retire. I say let them keep doing it till their employer says its time to go. My father in law hates retirement. He’s in his 80’s. At 65 he was forced to retire but he was actually still high functioning at the time. He was as fit mentally and physically as a 50 year old. For the next 10 years after that he had to take odd jobs to help with the income and keep his mind going. Only in probably the last 15 years has he started to need help in doing things. He’s 90 now.

Coloma's avatar


Not necessarily.

I don’t know anyone that has worked til they died, but I do see how the state of affairs is forcing people to keep working well past a time they might want to.

As I mentioned, it is one thing to choose to continue working but entirely another to be forced to do so.

It should be a choice.

I am 50 and am doing my damndest to keep my work level to part time, so I can really LIVE and do what makes me the happiest…enjoy my being.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@JLeslie , most people will take SS at the age they’re eligible to receive it whether they quit their jobs or not. It’s only the people who take it at 62 who have to worry about earnings limitations. As such, I can take my SS annuity payment at age 66 and keep on working if I want or have to. I’m not in a job that has compulsory retirement, although they will insist that I go on Medicare as soon as I become eligible.

That’s where the real problems are, anyway, particularly with the Boomers. Even if we continue to work, Uncle starts picking up the tab for medical expenses at age 65. Been to a hospital lately? They’re full of old people. I’ll do my best to stay the heck out of one, but sooner or later, something is going to get me.

JLeslie's avatar

I am missing your point I think. My point was that lets say there are 100 jobs in America. If 100 68 year olds take those jobs, they pay their 15% into social security (or whatever the correct percentage is). If 100 25 year olds are working the jobs, the same 15% is paid in. It does not really matter if the 68 year old is also receiving a social security benefit or not, it does not affect what is paid into the system. The only thing that would affect the cash flow of SS is raising the retirement age for eligibility, or increasing the percentage required to pay in based on income, or raising the cap, but you talked about freeing up jobs so younger people can work.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@JLeslie , you stop reporting your income to SSA when you reach your full retirement age. Therefore, your 100 68-year-olds report nothing and pay nothing into the fund, even though they may elect to defer their benefits in order to get a higher lifetime annuity payment.

JLeslie's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I see. I did not know that. Thanks for sticking with me.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@JLeslie , it’s complicated and something I need to think about very soon. I can start taking benefits at age 62 if I want, even though I will continue to work. Because I have a minor child, I get a bonus of 50% over my regular benefit until she’s 18. That would make a nice kitty for college. However, my earnings from my job are still subject to SSA withholding until I’m 66, even though I would be receiving payments. I need to talk to one of the actuaries here about all this implies.

JLeslie's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I did not know about this bonus either. You get more money just because you have a child under 18?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@JLeslie , yes, if you’re eligible for either retirement or disability benefits, you can get a bonus equal to half your annuity payment. Thus if my payment is $1600/mo, I get an additional $800/mo up until my child’s 18th birthday.

You can get a lot of information about SSA benefits here.

mattbrowne's avatar

Absolutely. Long term we have no other choice anyway.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The age 65 retirement age set by Social Security was established because in the mid-1930s, the median age at death was 65 (half died before 65 and half died after that age). Following that logic, the retirement age should now be in the low 70s. it would also reduce the enormous unfunded debt of the system.

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