Change mindsets on work and retirement

It is heartening to see our retirement and re-employment age increasing as we live longer and need to keep ourselves actively engaged in our society.

We want to see our people working for as long as they can economically and physically contribute to our nation.

We should consider removing the retirement age ("Tharman: S'pore's retirement age has to go at some point"; Tuesday).

When I was a child, the generally accepted retirement age was 55 years, because that was the age when employees could withdraw their Central Provident Fund savings.

Then, many workers wanted to enjoy their retirement after the age of 55. They felt that they deserved it.

But as we progress and our wage system improved, older workers started appealing for help to continue working, and there has been a steady rise in the employment rate of workers in the 55-to-64 years age group.

Many know that they do not have enough savings to maintain their standard of living.

Indeed, when my late father retired at the age of 55 in the late 1980s, we found it difficult to make ends meet. This eased as soon as my siblings and I started working.

As a society, we need to change our mindsets.

Many well-meaning grown-up children want to see their parents put up their feet and enjoy a happy retirement.

However, for most of us, work gives meaning to our lives and a sense of self-esteem and worth.

Many of us will live beyond 80. If we retire at age 62 or 65, what are we to do for the next 20 years or so? We are simply wasting manpower and time.

Employers were concerned about medical costs for older workers, but the Government has made every effort to cover them with MediShield Life.

Employers can also negotiate with their employees to purchase their own additional insurance.

Let us allow our older people to work with dignity. They can then stand on their own feet and enjoy the journey of old age.

V. Balu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'Change mindsets on work and retirement'. Print Edition | Subscribe