Is Retirement Still a Reality?
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Is Retirement Still a Reality?

Is retirement still a reality? Yes, but it’s a shifting and evolving reality.

“Retirement” Is Outmoded:

Traditional notions of “retirement” are outmoded. In particular, the expectation that people should want (or be forced) to stop working at age 65 no longer makes sense in a world in which people live longer, live healthier as they age, and the ratio of old to young is considerable and growing.

Yet as longevity has increased over the past century, we’ve tacitly tacked all the added years on at the end. Apart from the undesirability of making “old age” the longest phase of one’s life, it’s unrealistic to expect that most workers will be able save enough over the course of a 40-year working life to fund a possible 30-year (or longer) retirement.

There should be no hard boundary on where work ends and retirement begins. Instead, we need to think in terms of a new “life script” that allows for greater flexibility, time off or part time work mid-career, more opportunities for education and retraining across our life course, and “phased retirement” in which people reduce their hours, shift into less demanding roles, and so on, but not abruptly leave the workforce at some pre-set (and arbitrary) age.