THIS column doesn’t usually advocate genocide so you will gather that I’m not actually advocating shooting old people by using the heading above.
Pensions is not a sexy subject. But when you see near riots in Paris over the issue, you know that something serious is stirring.
For a pensions crisis is looming for the people of the western world. Put simply, we are living too long and we are not procreating enough. By the time us thirtysomethings get around to collecting our pensions there will be nobody at work to pay for it.
Therefore, most western governments, including our own, are trying to solve the issue now before it drives them bankrupt. At the moment we (Ireland) are putting over a billion euro into a special pension fund to bail us out in the future.
In Germany the authorities are contemplating whether to increase taxes for those who have no children. The theory is that such people are not providing workers to support them into old age. Germany could well face a population drop of some 30 million over the next 40 years. Our own birth rate is still falling and the population is only expanding due to inward migration.
What can we do? Firstly, we can abolish the idea of a fixed retirement age. It is ridiculous to set a single retirement age for the entire population. This takes no account of the individual abilities and health of people.
And 65 is now far too young for people to give up work. (At 65 life expectancy for females is 83, while for males it is 79.) Instead, the training agencies should be encouraging older people to continue their present work or to pursue their dreams.
Half my life is over
I’VE been looking at the Irish Life Table from the CSO.
Two months ago I became 38 years of age. According to the Life Table my life expectancy is now 37 years.
In other words, I’m on the down hill. (For women the half way point is 40).
It’s a fascinating table. Of the 100,000 men born around the same time as me, over 3,500 are dead. I’m surprised that so many survived.
What a waste!
There are a lot of pensioners out walking the streets of Dublin every day to keep fit – and to kill time!
These are people with huge experience and an enormous range of skills but because of our retirement culture they don’t see themselves as part of the workforce. With a little bit of flexibility on the part of employers, far more pensioners could take up part-time employment.
And it makes economic sense. Many people believe that elderly people should give up work to make way for young people.
Nonsense. Every time someone retires their spending decreases and economic activity is depressed. And so there is even less work to go around.