This academic year marks the end of my 19th year at MSMS. I almost certainly have more years behind me than ahead of me. I am not ready to retire, though I have occasionally thought about it. Speaking with similarly aged friends in different professions, I’ve not been surprised to discover two reasons they haven’t seriously considered retirement.
First, the cost of medical care outpaces cost of living adjustments made to pensions. People born after 1960 aren’t eligible for Medicare until they’re 67. Because individual health insurance policies for people in my ages bracket cost several hundred dollars a month–and for those with pre-existing conditions, more than a thousand dollars a month–typical state pensioners cannot afford to retire based on years in the system. They must wait until they get close to Medicare eligibility unless they have another job waiting in the wings.
Second, they ask themselves a more existential question: “After X years of teaching (or lawyering, banking, etc.), what in the world am I going to do?” (I have a much easier time answering that question. There’s always something to do.)
So why should my student bloggers care?
The longer people my age wait to retire, the fewer job openings there are in professions that might appeal to you. This affects not only your future earnings, but also innovation in your field, as people my age are less likely to embrace changes within their professions.
Obviously, professions need employees with my breadth of experience to promote cultural continuity and to safeguard the transmission of institutional knowledge. What policies would you craft that would protect the health and wealth of retirees, but allow for young people to enter the workforce more successfully?