Is working until 71 years old necessary? Maybe it’s time to follow the lead of the French and express our frustration.
The retirement age is gradually increasing. It will reach 67 by 2026 and is expected to reach 68 by 2044. However, it is uncertain if this will be the case. It could follow a similar pattern to Rishi Sunak’s plan to ban smoking, where the age limit is continuously pushed back until retirement becomes a distant memory rather than a desirable goal portrayed in movies from the 1940s. According to a report from the International Longevity Centre, those born after 1970 may need to retire at 71, indicating that retirement may become a thing of the past.
Retirement is a highly debated topic around the world, but in France, the sentiment is clear: “Macron, go screw yourself.” Those who are well-paid and enjoy financial planning find excitement in envisioning their future retirement, often picturing themselves in warmer climates with stylish neckerchiefs. This is a foreign concept to those who are also well-paid but dislike financial planning. Their conversations about retirement are vastly different from those who have low-paying jobs. While some may enjoy their work and others may find it physically taxing, the idea of working into their 70s without any financial stability is seen as a scam. If current retirees are not able to support themselves, who will pay for the retirement of future generations?
There is a growing divide among individuals who strongly associate their identity with their job and those who view work as suppressing their true selves. This creates conflicting feelings when it comes to the concept of working until retirement. It’s challenging to form a united and enthusiastic response to this idea. One solution could be to consider implementing different retirement ages based on the industry, allowing manual laborers to retire earlier. Alternatively, we could adopt a more collective mindset, similar to the French, and reject the idea of working until 71 for anyone. However, we cannot simply ignore or be indifferent to this issue.
Zoe Williams is a writer for The Guardian newspaper.
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