At what stage of life should a person retire? Typically, you would think it would be when your productive years are behind you. But what if the average lifespan itself lengthens with every decade and advances in medical technology, and the evolving nature of work means you can function profitably for far more years than your typical age of superannuation, which usually is around 60 years? The issue has many dimensions - for workers, employers, pension funds and the State.
When Mercer International president suggested in this newspaper a week ago that Singaporeans should retire at 70, his thinking was primarily based on the widening gap between the official end of the average person's working life and his longevity, which is approaching 85 years. This puts an unconscionable burden on not just on the younger generation, but also the State, which is increasingly weighed down by the need to cater to both the young as well as the old.