Why the World Needs to Rethink Retirement
The golden years look very different depending on where in the world you are, and, increasingly, which generation you are in. Aging populations and decreasing birthrates are spurring countries across the globe to reassess how retirement works — and what needs to change in order to extend the benefits available today to future retirees.
Many are not optimistic. Nearly half of those surveyed in a recent report by the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement say future generations would be worse off than those now in retirement, partly because people are living longer. According to the United Nations, the number of those over 60 worldwide is expected to double by 2050 to 2.1 billion. In the 1950s, that segment of the world’s population was around 205 million.
“When age 65 became the magic retirement number in the U.S., people didn’t live that long,” said Catherine Collinson, the executive director of the Aegon Center and chief executive and president of the Transamerica Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches health and retirement. “Now many people may find themselves living to their 100th birthday.
“A 30-to-40-year retirement is very different than a 10- or 20-year retirement.”
The Aegon survey found that a new global retirement model would need to include universal access to a retirement savings system for workers, greater financial literacy, and affordable health care, among other solutions.
“What is most striking is that in every country, policymakers, employers and everyday people are grappling with the implications of aging populations,” Ms. Collinson said. “Even though the countries are very different in their own way, everything from culturally to the nature of the inner workings of their retirement system, they all share the same challenges and the same problem going forward.”
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