From the Herman Trend Report: Retire or Not? A Global Look

Don’t assume that just because someone has grey hair the will retire soon.

With growing numbers of medical breakthroughs and advances in our knowledge of the relationship between environmental toxins and disease, people worldwide are living longer than ever before.

Half of US Baby Boomers waiting until at least age 70 or not choosing to retire at all

According to a recent survey by Harris for CareerBuilder, 30 percent of workers in the United States, ages 60 and older plan to retire at age 70 or even older. Some Baby Boomers remember the phrase, “Retire and die”, and they do not want to die.

Financial challenges top the list of delaying motivations

While delaying retirement can be caused by a number of reasons, financial motivations are usually at the top of the list. As mature workers labor to ensure they have a large enough nest egg, it is not surprising that 20 percent of the respondents do not believe they will ever be able to retire. One third of workers ages 60+ (34 percent) are not sure how much they will need.

Guaranteeing employment

Across Asia, it is a different story. In 2013, South Korea passed a law guaranteeing employment to age 60, beginning in 2016 for companies with 300 or more workers and beginning in 2017 for companies with less than 300. In Singapore, in 2012, the Retirement and Re-employment Act replaced the Retirement Age Act, adding to the statutory minimum retirement age which was still 62. Employers were then required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turned 62, up to the age of 65.

Mandatory retirement

Mandatory or enforced retirement is illegal in most countries with some interesting exceptions, mostly judges. Members of the Australian Defense Force must retire at age 60 and their reservists at 65. In Brazil, most public servants must retire at age 70. In Canada, all judges are subject to mandatory retirement at 70 or 75, depending on the court and their federal senators must stop holding their seats at age 75. Most pilots must retire at age 65, while air traffic controllers (ATCs) must stop working at age 56, with exceptions up to age 61. Interestingly, at the same time, there is no mandatory retirement age for ATCs in the United Kingdom.

What to expect

As we live longer, we will want to work longer. As we have said in so many previous Herman Trend Alerts, wise employers are taking advantage of the intellectual capital their older workers have by offering them part-time and phased-retirement positions. For those who have enough resources, there will be luxurious travel and other experiences to buy. However, people able to take advantage of this luxury and adventure will continue to be a minority.
Reprinted with permission From “The Herman Trend Alert,” by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or Visit to sign up.  The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc.”

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