Currently showing: Funding longer lives

11 Jun 13 16:06

A way of increasing the working population to help fund longer lives is to encourage more people to work past retirement age. As someone whose father retired at 72, I found a recent report by 'Eurofound' very interesting.

10.5% of EU 65-69 year old people were employed in 2011, a rise from 8.8% in 2005. For many, this was a necessity as a result of the financial crises, although the motivations vary and are complex. Many do want to continue working and it varies from country to region to industry how many actually do.

56.8% of those EU citizens aged 65 and over in employment work part time, compared to 18.5% aged 15-64. More interestingly in my opinion, there is a 49.7% rate of self employment (including my father until his eventual retirement) for 65+, whereas it's 14.3% for 15-64.

How do we make working past retirement age a want rather than a need?

Read the Eurofound study for further detail:

Category: Funding longer lives



Alicia Montoya - 12 Jun 2013, 6:40 a.m.

Fascinating findings! Thanks for sharing that report and.. Happy European year of active ageing and solidarity between generations!

As Jayne Plunkett mentions in this WEF blog "Defusing the demographics time bomb": People can clearly lead longer productive working lives than they currently do. The percentage of people aged 60-64 in work across the OECD nations rose from 36% to 43% from 2001 to 2011, but that increase does not seem sufficient considering the increase in life expectancy. Read the full post here:

So how much longer is longer? How long do we want to work, and how long do we need to work to be financially sustainable? According to Richard Montgomery, this could mean retiring upwards of 75, even 85!

The great irony of it all is that while countries like Greece fight every small increment in the retirement age, many retirees in Europe would love to work for longer and are not allowed to do so by their companies or governments. So here's a crazy idea: How about flexible retirement ages? In any case, to me it's clear that we need to completely revise the legal framework to reflect the demographic reality we live in. And we need to do so fast, please. I have no kids to support me later in life and my faith in being able to live on a government pension is at an all time low!

Aspasia Angelakopoulou - 14 Jun 2013, 3:24 p.m.

Very interesting findings indeed!Adding to Matt's personal experience my dad, who is self-employed, is 72 years old, he is still working, and is equally enthusiastic and productive(if not more) than when he was younger. That makes me admire him and also makes me wonder how is it possible for someone who has been working all his life to still want to work after a certain age. When I ask him what is the secret behind his amazing energy he keeps telling me that when you love what you are doing yo don't feel like working and that age is just a number.. I totally agree with him actually and I think I would like something similar when I get older (assuming I am in good health).

Not sure how we can make people want to work longer...i guess motivation is an important factor but I am not sure how this can work in practice as it also depends on people's past working experience, savings, as well as on health condition at an older age...

Nicola Oliver - 14 Jun 2013, 5:44 p.m.

I do think that much of it comes down to collective attitudes to ageing; it still remains linked in many peoples minds with illness and frailty. The Prudential conducted a survey earlier this year and found that many had a positive attitude to continuing work beyond retirement age: 'This motivation for continuing to work on is not just financial. More than half (55 per cent) of those considering working past State Pension Age believe it would keep their minds and bodies active and healthy, compared with 40 per cent who are motivated by boosting their retirement incomes. Almost as many (38 per cent) say they would be happy to work on simply because they enjoy working so much.'
Report summary:

I think this adds strength to the need for dialogue and understanding between generations.

Aravinda Meera Guntupalli - 14 Jun 2013, 6:08 p.m.

Your question -how do we make working past retirement age a want rather than a need? –can be answered only using a multilevel perspective that considers characteristics of individuals, households, work place policies and the welfare system. Post retirement work depends on several micro and macro factors including the need, health and work related policies in a country. Even if we hate to agree, we have to accept that work takes centre stage in most of our lives- at least to some extent! It is very difficult for several healthier older people to suddenly give it all away after retirement (my father). However, some older people look forward to retirement so that they can try new things (my father-in-law). It is important to recognise different scenarios and ensure that policies are in place to support older people that would like to extend their work lives! Policy makers have to listen to the voices of older people and they need to address age-period-cohort perspective in their policies.

Nicola Oliver - 17 Jun 2013, 12:57 p.m.

Aravinda I couldn't agree more with regard policy makers LISTENING to the voices of older people - this seems to me to be where the biggest need is

Aspasia Angelakopoulou - 17 Jun 2013, 1:47 p.m.

I totally agree with Nicola's comment on the high percentage of people who are working beyond the State Pension Age and they report that working until later in life keeps their minds and bodies active and healthy..I think that would be the main reason why I may choose to work after a specific age (assuming that I do not have any financial difficulties because in this case it is difficult to think of any other motivation than the financial one)..even though I am a bit far from retirement I can imagine that, assuming no serious health problems, working and interacting with people at an older age will make me feel so much better as in general I am the type of person who prefers my mind to be quite active..and lets not forget...age is just a number!

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