More, more, elsewhere

As William Shakespeare told us, there are ages, seven of them, to the life of man.

The idea is rather older than that, forming the basis of the Sphinx’s riddle as well. My point being that we all do, barring unfortunate accidents and circumstances, end up in old age. Given that we all do, there’s no economic problem here, for something that happens to all is quite easy to deal with.

However, increasing lifespans do mean that we’ve got to recognise that those different ages, old age itself, turn up at rather different ages these days. That does pose an economic problem and also a political one. For what is the correct age at which we now say that people are old? When they are due some privileges from the rest of us?

AMA Muhith has just suggested that in Bangladesh, this definition of “senior citizen” should change, from a general idea of 60 years of age to one of 65. This isn’t a hugely important change, as there’s not much that goes with being so called.

But it’s an illustration of something much more important — pensions ages and any other fiscal or state privileges we might grant to the old, and at what age we consider them old enough to gain such privileges.

5 comments on “More, more, elsewhere

  1. Bismarck set the pension at an age when half of all Germans had died. So the solution is obvious – we should bring back the Tontine. All those pension payments should go into a big fund and when half the people born in that year die, the rest should share the cash.

    It is simple, fairly cheap to administer, and it self-adjusts as life expectancies change.

    Sure it might have some unwelcome social impacts, like class mates encouraging each other to take up smoking or bungee jumping or the like. But we could embrace that too with public Battle-Royale-style fights to the death among pensioners until only one remains. Excellent TV I feel.

  2. Like your style SMFS! That last suggestion is double ace bolero!

    What is obvious is that a pensions system based on current earners paying for the pensioners is demographically impossible to sustain.

    I don’t know if youngsters haven’t discovered sex (I suspect that they have), but having children is now ‘too expensive’.

    Leaving aside the undiscriminating leftie neocolonial desire for mass immigration to pay our pensions (all that seems to be happening is the new immigration is benefit-based), our better aging, increased longevity and the reduction in the number of payers-in suggests a radical increase in entitlement age ought to be on the table.

    Sh*t, the A bombs are already heading my way. Duck!

    I shan’t retire at 65. But at a few 🙂 years younger, I am reducing my work load and handing many responsibilities to my minions, I mean senior employees. I intend to do only what I enjoy.

    Here in Spain, the maximum pensions are gradually being cut, the amounts to pay in are gradually increasing and gradual raising of the retirement age has been brought in.

    As a major shareholder in the company I manage, I am obliged to be self-employed and pay my own Social Security (pension contributions among other concepts). I have paid the minimum and will be eligible for the minimum state-pension, whilst making private more profitable provision for my old age.

    People not having babies, has made my decision look like a good one. The minimum pension will rise slowly and the maximum will continue to come down.

    Whatever happens, we need to become family friendly and fight the progressive idea that the family is scum and out-of-date and so yesterday (unless you (single mums are by definition good) or both of you, are somewhere way out on the LG…. spectrum, then it’s cool).

    Making babies is cool. I liked that bit of it. I tried hard, very hard and frequently!

  3. “Making babies is cool.”

    I generally find it to be hot, sweat drippingly hot. But I don’t have air-con

  4. I don’t disagree with the premise that State Pensions are an unsupportable drain on the economy and acknowledge the ‘retirement age’ should rise progressively – always provided there’s sufficient warning and time for individuals to plan. Being the cynical sort I always assumed that by the time I reached pensionable age the government of the day would have reneged on their promise, and so wasn’t surprised to discover my £119/week was accompanied by a corresponding income tax demand for £119/week.

  5. A radio talk host in Boston defines old age as “when ya go to bed, and wake up…INJURED!”

    State pensions, over here, are not subject to the rules of logic. The “trust fund” has been squandered on border-jumpers and layabouts and the political landscape is now oldsters demanding that new victims be stolen from to pay them “their money,” which the average oldster doesn’t need anyway because his home is now paid for. Sorry, that’s a stereotype, but stereotyping the elderly, needy or not needy, is how politics will decide solvency of state pensions and “privileges we might grant to the old.”

    What we might study is a 20-year-old entering into a private contract for monthly payments in his old age, and finding the assumptions have changed (radically enough to bankrupt his provider) once he gets there.

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