Demographic Changes and Economic Realities
One of the key drivers behind redefining retirement age is demographic change. People are living longer and healthier lives and this longevity has significant implications for retirement planning.
For example, in 1990 life expectancy after the age of 65 was 16.3 years in Germany, 17.2 years in Italy, and 17.5 years in Spain; in 2020, it had increased to 19.7 years in Germany (+3.4), 20.1 years in Italy (+2.9) and 20.5 years in Spain (+3,0). With such an increase in life expectancy, the idea of retiring at 60 or 65 no longer aligns with the reality of a potential post-career life that can be active and productive for decades.
Moreover, economic realities play a crucial role in redefining the concept of retirement. Many people find themselves financially unprepared to retire at a predetermined age due to inadequate savings, insufficient pensions, or the need to continue working to support themselves and their families. As a result, individuals are reevaluating their retirement plans, seeking flexible options that allow them to remain engaged in the workforce or pursue alternative income-generating activities.
Impact on Individuals
The evolving concept of retirement offers challenges and opportunities for both individuals and society. On one hand, delaying retirement can allow individuals to improve their financial security, bridge the gap between savings and expenses, and enjoy a more fulfilling post-career life focused on purpose. Working longer can also contribute to better mental and physical well-being by providing a sense of purpose, social interaction, and continuous intellectual stimulation.
However, redefining retirement age also raises concerns for some individuals. Physically demanding jobs may become unsustainable with age, and individuals facing health issues may have difficulty continuing to work. Additionally, some individuals may wish to retire early to pursue personal interests, spend time with family, or engage in activities they couldn’t explore during their working years.
In the international public sector context, many aspire to retire, return to their home country, and enjoy the later stages of life within a more familiar cultural context. Balancing the desire for early retirement with financial security and societal expectations becomes a complex decision for many.