Do you agree with raising the retirement age?

Mar 10, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Our retirement years are the time to end commuting so much, stop clockwatching. We can kick back and enjoy our golden years.

Now is our best of being a boomer grey, a time for grandchildren, projects around the home and community, or for bucket list travel, hobbies or adventures.

But growing older is only for the very brave. Some of us are finding that we have to self-fund our longer lifespans. Ongoing, current rules for accessing pensions and superannuation packages may change until people are even older than in the current system. The modern eligibility for the age pension in Australia is now 67 years old.

Population experts are advocating that this age shall be increased to 70 in the foreseeable future. We current wrinklies may well be twinkles of stardust by then. We can take nothing for granted. Some are acknowledging that most boomers have, or shall, retire in the next five years. This is one reason for staff shortages in some fields of employment. For instance, teaching and nursing were once totally acceptable careers for boomer babes. Our golden years meant that older teachers our age were not prepared to prop up the staffing shortages in classrooms across Australia.

Personally, I still engage in a modest part-time occupation of tutoring online. It is one way of keeping a busy brain occupied, using my years of expertise in the recovery of struggling students, and guiding pupils from overseas who need assistance with English. For this, I earn exactly half what my gardener does per hour. Ultimately, anything might cause me, or any boomer, to retire full-time in the years approaching.

So, what are the alternatives to raising the retirement age for future goldens as they age? Maybe many jobs will cease to exist, being replaced by digital platforms, or integration with robotic technology, adapting current AI chat formats. As the birth rates are declining in many Western lands, there shall be fewer people to replace the current dependency on older workers with their skills, employed in their chosen path.

It would be difficult for any Australian government to force a farm labourer, a bricklayer, or a mechanic, to work on such hard physical labour. Even an office worker might definitely be unwilling to spend their seventies staring at a screen or fielding call centre complaints for so many years.

I have known several public servants who spent years chasing the next level of promotion in their ranks. They chatted for hours about their planned superannuation, and their retirement ahead. Advancing the current retirement age until 70 years old would mean devoting more of their public service career hours to responding to the queries and tasks involved in administrating the state or Commonwealth government policies for Australians. I never heard one of them say they wished to work longer.

What is wrong with the pension age as it is? Some people do not retire completely until well past the standard age. They can potter around, working hours to suit their employers and themselves. My former GP did not retire until he was nearly ninety years old. He worked half days and was regarded as a wise old ‘uncle’ in our community and medical centre. One professional driver I knew kept on driving part-time well into his eighties, fit as a Mallee bull!

But many golden age boomers do anticipate their retirement time, a time to relax. Progress will take care of many of us. What is your personal opinion about raising the retirement age in Australia?

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