No time to retire: 10 lessons for an ageing world
Populations are ageing across the globe and to help work out what we are all doing with our mid-to-late lives, we’re launching a new That’s Not My Age series called No Time To Retire. The plan is to feature personal stories, information and expert advice for anyone approaching retirement age, or thinking about but not planning enough for the future. There is a large spectrum here and the whole question is complex. Sometimes we make choices and plan accordingly, whereas in other cases this is not possible. If a person has health problems or is caring for dependent relatives, there is narrower range of options and far greater challenges.
In her recently published, helpful book the former government advisor Camilla Cavendish, advocates Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World. Chapter Four entitled ‘No Desire to Retire,’ makes the point that there is now a new trend of Un-retirement, which means the ability to keep working in a chosen field or a different one post retirement age. This tends to apply narrowly to the highly educated or professionals with transferable skills. Some choose to work as advisors as paid consultants or pro bono or to volunteer their time. Although it can also apply to those who don’t have a choice, are not able to survive on a state pension and have to keep working – possibly on a part-time basis – in order to boost an inadequate income. Lifestyle has to be adjusted accordingly. For freelancers and part-time workers, cashflow is variable and planning for a secure future becomes more challenging.
Overall, there is a spread of ages at which one is eligible for a state pension, and in many instances there is a gender gap between the female and male retirement age – pension equality is something WASPI is campaigning for. In demographic terminology, apparently, ‘elderly’ is defined as the age of retirement. In the UK this is moving progressively from age 60 for women, 65 for men, to parity i.e. now 65 for both, but with the intention to shift this upwards, 66, 67 and finally 68 by 2037. In the USA the number is moving from 65 to 66/67 for both sexes. In Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 65 is the norm. In contrast, France has the very low age for 60, which the government wishes to adjust to 62. The figures are lower still for Russia: 55 for women and 60 for men, moving towards 60 and 65 by the mid-2020s.
The real question here is whether one has the choice of continuing to work, and the good enough health to do so. Is it a case of ‘Hands Off My Job?’ or ‘Please Let Me Retire Because I Have Had Enough.’ Naturally, this comes down to personal circumstances and is very much driven by socio-economic considerations.
We would very much like to hear from readers of That’s Not My Age about your stories and experiences surrounding retirement and continuing to work. Please send an email to [email protected] and start a discussion. Upcoming posts in this series will also deal with how to keep healthy, busy and how to engage with life as fully as possible in later years.
Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World by Camilla Cavendish is out now