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Since Congress passed legislation in 1983, the retirement age in the United States has steadily increased. Before this act, the full retirement age was 65, and the early retirement age was 62, with a permanent decrease of up to 80% of the overall benefit sum for individuals. However, the total gain age for people born between 1943 and 1954 is 66, and it is steadily increasing for those born after 1960. While early retirement benefits are available from 62, they have been reduced by nearly 70%. (National Academy of Social Insurance). The retirement age for government employees has been an issue that is surrounded by great controversy. Some policy makers have been insisting that it should be increased to seventy whereas others have been suggesting that it should be reduced to fifty-eight years. The retirement age affects the economy of the country as it has an impact on the employment rates in a country and the level of human resource productivity which directly influences the economy of a country. The retirement age often determines the kind of burden that the economy of the country faces, and as such, the age should not be increased.
Reasons why the Retirement Age should not be increased
An increase in the retirement age for individuals is a means to reduce the deficit of the Social Security and increase its solvency (Domonkos 133). It is mainly because the proposals to increase the retirement age means that there is an additional reduction in the benefits. For instance, the individuals who retire at 62, get a reduction of up to 70% of their total benefit whereas those who retire at 67 get a reduction of up to 86% (National Academy of Social Insurance). Therefore, the individuals do not enjoy their full benefit as they should when the age of retirement is increased. As such, the retirement age should not be increased to ensure that individuals enjoy their benefits in a maximum way.
There is an increasing gap in income earned between the rich and the poor (Tung and Comeau 10). The gap of revenue also reflects in the lifespans of the two groups of people. Individuals who make little amounts during their working life also get lower benefits from the social security fund when they retire as opposed to those who earn higher amounts. Therefore, increasing the age for retirement would increase the disparity between the poor and the rich. It would end up affecting the quality of lives that individuals live and therefore the poor experience a lower lifespan. Therefore, to improve equality which is one of the objectives of the government the retirement age should not be increased.
Old age results to lower productivity which influences the economy of a country. As individuals age, they begin to get many responsibilities from family, personal business and even sicknesses and these affect their productivity at the workplace (Damman, Henkens and Kalmijn 455). They begin to lose their concentration which means that they spend too much time on one activity. The lost concentration may also affect the quality of work that is done. The old individuals may also seek for more leave days to attend to their personal responsibilities or hospital appointments. Therefore, this reduces the number of working hours for a given time, and it ends up influencing the objectives of a company. It also results in increased expenditure as organizations seek to get additional individuals through contracts or use of overtime.
Moreover, labor turnover is more common among older employees as compared to the younger ones (Damman, Henkens and Kalmijn 460). Old employees also become incapacitated to work especially in physically demanding jobs, service related jobs, and outdoor jobs. They often complain about long hours of standing, back problems and even problems with customers. Therefore, an increase in the retirement age would mean that more old individuals are part of the workforce which in the end results in a decreased productivity. A reduction in the productivity of the human resource affects the output of the economy. Therefore, the retirement age should not be increased to provide room for young and energetic individuals.
Delayed retirement contributes to lower employment rates (Tung and Comeau 2). An increase in the retirement age means that more individuals continue to retain their job positions for a longer time. On the other hand, more young people are graduating from universities and seeking for employment opportunities. Lowered rates of employment contribute to an increase in criminal activities, prostitution and drug abuse as the young people are looking for a means of livelihood. Therefore, to curb such vices in the society, the retirement age must not be increased. If it is not increased, it will give an opportunity for the young people to get conventional means of earning a livelihood.
Proponents and policy makers who support an increase in the retirement age argue that individuals are now living longer and this is putting a strain on their retirement funds (Domonkos 144). Individuals are now adopting healthy lifestyles such as frequent exercising and proper feeding habits which allow them to live longer. The improvements in technology and innovations in the medical world have also provided solutions to many lifelong conditions. Therefore, individuals end up spending all their retirement funds before they pass on. They may also use it all on vacations, hospital checkups and even family responsibilities.
However, this idea promotes laxity and poor planning among individuals. People should use the time they spent in their jobs planning for life after retirement. They should have saving options investments that will take care of their needs after they leave their places of work. The funds given by the Social Security fund should only be seen as a boost. Therefore, based on this idea, the retirement age should not be increased.
The policymakers who are proposing for an increment in the retirement age for individuals should realize that it would change the lives of millions of Americans negatively. An increase in the retirement age will not protect the future generations as it will expose them to vices with the aim of earning a livelihood. It will also increase the income gap between the rich and the poor and at the end cut off the individuals in the lower-income levels. The effect will influence the lives of the people who are already poor and have a less likelihood that they will even work up to seventy years. Therefore, if the Congress is looking for opportunities to reduce the pressure on the budget, an increase in the retirement age should not be any of their options. The retirement age should not be raised.
Damman, Marleen, Kene Henkens and Matthijs Kalmijn. "Late Career Work Disengagement: The Role of Proximity to Retirement and Career Experiences." The Journal of Gerontology 68.3 (2013): 455-463. Web.
Domonkos, Stefan. "Promoting a Higher Retirement Age: A Prospect-theoretical Approach." International Journal of Social Welfare 24.2 (2015): 133-144. Web.
National Academy of Social Insurance. What is the Social Security Retirement Age? January 2017. Web. 22 April 2017.
Tung, Lai, and Jean Comeau. "Perceived Benefits and Drawbacks of the Retirement Age Policy in Malaysia: HR Perspective." International Journal of Business and Management 7.9 (2012): 1-15. Web.
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