Retirement as we know it is over.
The coalition government is planning on scrapping the default retirement age and this may mean the end of retirement as we know it now. Instead of getting to the retirement age of 60, which is already rising, we will continue working into old age. This will often be on a part time or flexible basis rather than full time work. Such work will be needed by many as pensions can no longer cope with the longer lives we are living. Retirement will therefore no longer be a sudden change but a gradual shift as people slowly wind down their working life.
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There will be a lesser standard of living
As people live longer, more pension is having to be paid out to individuals. They are withdrawing the pension for much longer than was anticipated when the retirement age of 65 was brought in. This means that there is less money in the pot to share around an aging population. Before, living 10 years after retirement was an achievement. Now it is something of a triviality. So before, people who were claiming the pension were not claiming for that long, now they are. This situation is going to get worse and the pension pot gets no bigger. Therefore everyone on a state pension will have a lower standard of living.
If you are placing the concept of retirement in the realm of standard of living then surely we will get the same standard of living as we expect in retirement now. If we view retirement as poverty, which many do, then the concept of retirement is the same. If people have a more idyllic concept of retirement, of long cruises and sandy beaches, then working longer and earning more will only aid their concept of retirement to become a reality, even if it is a few years delayed.
People will not have a milestone age to retire
When there were set defined years at which people were said to retire, these were seen as milestones. At the age of 65 you go into retirement. You have a huge party with all your colleagues and family to celebrate your life of working. If, however, we no longer have a milestone age at which to retire, we will no longer have the same joyous event of retirement. It will just be another everyday occurrence that happens either by a mere whim of the individual or it will be due to ill health. This is an entirely different concept of ‘retirement’.
People will gradually go into retirement via part time work
As well as there being no milestone age at which everyone anticipates their retirement, people will no longer have a set sort of retirement. What will happen is that people will not have the momentous event of retirement in one large step. They will take part time jobs and over the years gradually decrease their hours. This will occur due to people needing to earn money in order to supplement their pension. There will be no point at which these people could say they are retired, they will call themselves semi-retired or quarter-retired, depending on how many hours they work. This is an entirely different use of the concept ‘retirement’.
The Government are only stopping compulsory retirement
The Government are not saying that people will not be allowed to retire before a certain older age, they are stopping companies forcing the over 65’s from retiring. Therefore, people will still be able to retire, but equally they will still be able to work. The change is minimal and is a matter of choice. If you wish to live by the old system and retire at 65 then you can. But if you want to work longer, you can also. This is the same as how retirement works these days. Many of the over 65’s choose to work for as long as they can. This Government move is only designed to give the over 65’s more choice and to encourage people to continue working.
The elderly struggle on their pensions these days
It is for this reason that we have a Home Heating Allowance for the elderly. So poor are they that they cannot afford to turn their heating on and so they die in cold. We often hear pensioners complaining about how little the pension provides them. It will be the same when the current generation retire and the generation after that. Not earning a wage often inevitably means a lower standard of living, and this one thing about retirement has not changed.
People have never been able to save enough for retirement
Women have always come out the worse in retirement, and this conceptual part of retirement has not changed. [[http://www.bbchistorymagazine.com/feature/changing-times-was-there-ever-golden-age-retirement]]. Women have interrupted periods of earning due to their birth giving nature and so they do not make regular payments as a man would. Therefore their pension levels fall short of the average. In addition women have always lived longer than men. Therefore, they continue to survive on one pension instead of two; compared to men who will spend their retirement having the two pensions to rely on.
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