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Aging Gracefully
 

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What would happen if we raised the mandatory retirement age? The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson, who has argued the mandatory age should rise, asks in this column whether age discrimination might hamper the effort. "The system encourages earlier retirement among career workers and frustrates their reemployment. We could take steps to change this: review age discrimination laws to make it easier for companies to keep career workers; allow people to buy into Medicare at age 62 or 65 while still working," he writes.

These steps may not be enough. Yes, as life expectancies rise, a retirement age of 65 seems increasingly silly. But the bigger problem is the workforce is in trouble: there aren't enough younger workers to fill the shoes of the retiring ones. "There's going to be a lot more older people relative to younger people in the population over the next 30 or 40 years," Michael Bazdarich, senior economist with UCLA Anderson Forecast, says. "People are just going to have to work longer. Nobody wants to do it—but there is no alternative."

Although some people do want to work longer: entrepreneurs, as I wrote about in the September issue (the article's not online yet). Would you hire older workers? Do you plan on working well past 65?

Last updated: Aug 30, 2005




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