Pushing Retirement?

This one is certainly one to watch.

(from the FT)

Eleven per cent of people worldwide are now working into their 70s, according to a new report which also shows that older people are fitter and in many countries healthier than ever before.

A study by HSBC, the UK-based banking group, entitled the Future of Retirement, found that contrary to popular belief, retirement is often characterised by good health, independence and quality of life.


Clive Bannister, group managing director of insurance for HSBC, said: “In terms of health the age of 70 is the new 50. The report found that retirement is as good or better than people’s expectations and advances in healthcare have sustained this.”

Only in Russia, India, the Philippines and South Korea did the research show that people were working later in life than they would prefer. HSBC calculates that people over 60 pay £39.7bn in taxes from paid employment.

The study showed that older people are also fitter. Those questioned aged between 60 and 79 years old who described themselves as being in fair, good or very good health was 86 per cent compared to 14 per cent who believed they suffered poor or very poor health.

The highest proportions of healthy people in their 70s are in Canada with 76 per cent, the UK with 73 per cent and the US with 72 per cent.

But even those in their 70s questioned in Latin America and Asia reported low levels of poor health.

Just 10 per cent in Brazil and Mexico said they suffered poor health and 18 per cent across Asia falling to 9 per cent in Singapore.

There are many interesting issues here. The first of course concerns the opportunity for ageing societies to leverage their human capital more efficiently as dependancy ratios are mounting at a rapid pace. The flip side or qualifiers as it were concern productivity and saving/consumption patterns. How productive will the older workers be and how much will they spend of their extra earnings? The interesting thing here is also I think the notes on health; I mean if people feel fit why should they not work? In many cases I suspect that cultural currents in the labour market and society in general will present the greatest impediment towards letting +65 year old work.