When Should People Retire?

When should people be made to retire? 55? 65? Should there be a compulsory retirement age?

Many old people work well into their 70s and 80s, running families, countries or corporations. Other people, however, despite being fit and highly talented, are forced to retire in their or even earlier because of company or national regulations. This essay will examine whether people should be allowed to continue working for as long as they want or whether they should be encouraged to retire at a particular stage.

There are several arguments for allowing older people to continue working as long as they are able. First of all, older employees have an immense amount of knowledge and experience which can be lost to a business or organization if they are made to retire. A second point is that older employees are often extremely loyal employees and are more willing to implement company policies than younger less committed staff. However, a more important point is regarding the attitudes in society to old people. To force someone to resign or retire at 60 or 65 indicates that the society does not value the input of these people and that effectively their useful life is over.

Allowing older people to work indefinitely however is not always a good policy. Age alone is no guarantee of ability. Many younger employees have more experience or skills than older staff, who may have been stuck in one area or unit for most of their working lives. Having compulsory retirement allows new ideas in an organization. In addition, without age limits, however arbitrary, many people would continue to work purely because they did not have any other plans or roles. A third point of view is that older people should be rewarded by society for their life’s labor by being given generous pensions and the freedom to enjoy their leisure.

With many young people unemployed or frustrated in low-level positions, there are often calls to compulsorily retire older workers. However, this can affect the older individual’s freedom – and right – to work and can deprive society of valuable experience and insights. I feel that giving workers more flexibility and choice over their retirement age will benefit society and the individual.

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