Retirement: No More Golden Years

Seniors in a California home exercise while seated; Japanese elderly work out

The world has inequalities of many kinds, and retirement is no exception. Government-sponsored pensionable retirement programs are popular worldwide, regarded as essential in the wealthiest economies. “Retirement programs are similar in purpose, yet differ considerably in scope, coverage, contributions, requirements, taxes, eligibility and benefits,” explains demography expert Joseph Chamie. “Official retirement ages, for example, range from 50 to 70 years, with most concentrated between 60 and 65 years.” Longer lifespans increase the years people spend in retirement, increasing costs for governments, employers and individual retirees. According to Chamie, solutions include hiking retirement ages and reducing retirement benefits, increasing taxes, shifting from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans, and promoting incentives among workers to save more and work longer. Protests quickly form when governments move to cut retirement benefits, and many workers worry that a comfortable retirement is not in their future. – YaleGlobal