In an ideal and picturesque world, retirement is a golden epoch in an individuals life, where they are able to relax and enjoy the twilight years of their life in the company of their family and friends. In addition to this, they are rewarded for their years of hard work and significant contributions to the economy with a deserved pension, which is available to them in conjunction with any additional savings they may have earned over time. With the advances in medicine improving health conditions and the longevity of life, it is supposed to be a durable and well earned reward for the hard working individuals of the US.
However, the harsh reality of existence rarely reflects an individual ideology, and the instance of retirement is a case in point. There is a global phenomenon of people retiring at an increasingly elderly age, and particular employment reforms in the US are ensuring that this trend is being reflected throughout the nation. The UK and France are also seeing modifications to their legislation which is deferring the average age of retirement, creating a generation of individuals who are forced to delay enjoying the fruits of their labors.
Given the combined and individual levels of debt that continue to strange the life out of contemporary societies, it is little wonder that people are being forced to work harder and longer for their retirement purse. The recent global recession has not helped the matter, and governments are being coerced into delaying the standard retirement age to ensure the stability of social security, and also help to maintain an able economy. However, while the concept of a national debt is one thing, this issue is compounded when the levels of consumer debt remain so high and prevalent.
These individual but interwoven types of debt create a marriage of inconvenience, combining restricted governments who are forced to consider raising the retirement age with individuals who are required to work to ensure their financial security. This enables the government to serve the dual purpose of reducing the states burden of pension repayments and striving to energize the economy, all without too much objection from union bodies and workers and themselves will benefit from the reforms.
It also places the burden of financial security with each individual and household, making every one responsible for their own fiscal circumstances. While it is only fair that workers receive a state pension based upon their years of contributions to the economy, this should not be a sole source upon which an individual bases their retirement plans. With consumer debt at an untenable and unprecedented rate in the US, it is wise for governments to impart a level of responsibility on their citizens to manage their independent wealth.
Perhaps the main issue to deferring the retirement age is the concept of fairness to a specific demographic. While there are individuals who are burdened with their own consumer debt and drives their need to work until their 70’s and beyond, there are others who have managed their work and financial responsibilities diligently that are being denied their pension when it should be due to them. By imposing a general rise in the age of retirement, and administering financial penalties to public sector workers who decide to retire earlier, a government could be accused of treating factions of its public unfairly.
This issue of fairness is important, especially as legislation is amended at different periods through an individuals working life. This means that a worker will begin their career with an expected retirement age and state pension sum, only to see these modified through the course of time and financial hardship. This creates a volatile and unsteady environment for people in regular employment, as they are unsure as to the validity and nature of their pension and its repayments. These changes do not necessarily reflect the amount of contributions and wealth that an individual has reinvested into the economy.
The most suitable way for an individual to achieve their own financial security is to take ultimate responsibility for their savings and expenditure. By developing and retaining a tight control on their own financial activity, a person can strive to develop a sizeable savings fund and therefore have no further need to rely on a state or government pension. In this instance, and regardless of the state of the US economy at any given time, financial independence can be maintained across a broad range of society.
This independence serves two specific purposes. Not only does it help to create a generation of individuals who are financially aware and deposed to save their money for their own future requirements, but also means that the government can use legislation to reduce their burden of pension repayments in accordance to a citizens affluence and level of savings. It is through the encouragement and development of responsibility amongst citizens that financial security can be assured without them having to delay their retirement.