It’s Hell Getting Old

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?

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11 Responses to It’s Hell Getting Old

  1. Gracyn Young says:

    I would first begin by developing some type of plan to prepare a larger savings account for those with plans to retire at some point. A 401K will not get you as far as it will today as it would have many years ago. Especially not in the 1960s, when Medicare decided you must be 67 to gain access. I would propose that to keep up with inflation, the salaries rose accordingly, and in return, the worker would be able to set aside more savings for retirement. I would also propose that Medicare begin around the age of 60 rather than 67 to account for 1. job availability, 2. quality of work (a near-70-year-old cannot do the same quality of work as a 30-year-old in most cases), and 3. (for the most part), the participant is paying for a portion of their care regardless.

  2. Rushyendranath Reddy Nalamalapu says:

    I am not familiar with the policies and regulations for retirement, but I can understand the underlying causes. More experienced employees who have worked for a company for a long time or have accumulated impressive work experience are rewarded with proportionately higher salaries. The opposite is true for employees fresh out of grad school looking for a quality position.

    Some policies are in place, but there should be consideration. It is important to optimize the interests of someone trying to settle down after an extensive career and innovation. Medicare can be adjusted to be more need-based for different workers and their demands. Furthermore, employers must be more attentive to their worker’s preferences in this particular topic.

    For the topic of innovation and new students getting their first positions in the field, the increase in job growth will supply new workers with options to get a job immediately after college. It should be known that workers who have been a part of an organization for an extended period of time should be given a higher level of respect. Experienced workers are key to helping keep the company’s traditions and providing valuable information about how the company has grown in the past. Of course, companies are the only places people retire from and this varies case by case. All in all, retirees should be accommodated and respected in a way that views them not as a burden but as valuable individuals who are veterans in their careers.

  3. Jon Kiesel says:

    Well, there are at least two dominant parameters to consider while constructing retirement policy: The age limit and the potential benefits. Increasing the age limit makes people work longer before retirement, and fewer job opening current, but it may improve the potential benefits for retirement, and there are more workers. However, decreasing the age limit would have a higher job opening current, but there would also be fewer people at work and more in retirement, affecting those retirement benefits. Furthermore, increasing the benefits would likely make more people enter retirement given the opportunity, and decreasing would likewise have less. There’s a clear balance to strike that works for everybody, families, and companies included; finding that balance is the difficult part.

    With an increasing population and improvements in technology that makes living less costly, my gut instincts tell me there would to be less resistance to slightly lowering the age limit from where it is now. The whole system is much like supply and demand, with companies buying out what they can from their experienced workers (like they’re maintaining an NFL roster) and everyone else figuring out if it’s better to retire or work a little longer. And a more difficult question to answer in the eyes of a politician: how low do you really want to go?

  4. Bill Arnoldus says:

    A possible solution to the rising medical costs is to institute a policy where if a retiree can’t afford medical bills then the government will cut them a check to cover it to ensure the prolonged health and wealth of the said retiree.

    I wasn’t aware that young people were having trouble entering the work force. Maybe, give all persons of a certain age range a marginal tax break if they were in the workforce that increases the longer they stay in it, eventually capping out. This would provide an incentive not only to join the work force, but stay in it as well.

  5. As stated in the original post for this blog, the largest concern with this topic is the issue of healthcare expense. Most workers relying on retirement benefits and social security are forced to wait and stay employed for far longer than is healthy for them to due to the outrageous cost of US healthcare. One way I see this being fixed is through the government proposing a bill to take money out of some arcane and obselete drains of the federal buget, of which there is a lot, and pour it into healthcare benefits so that they could decrease the age needed to receive benefits. If you are curious about some of the wastes of revenue the government spends on a yearly basis, here is an article from 2015 to give an example, and believe me it has only gotten worse since then.
    Besides that however, the government could also solve this issue differently by using the money it uses for the healthcare to instead fund its own national hospitals and clinics all over the US for any and all people who qualify under medicare or medicaid. This solution would actually kill two birds with one stone, and is proven to work incredibly well with a similar system already in place, the VA. VA or Veterans Association, is essentially exactly what was just explained, but instead of being individuals under medicare or medicaid, its full medical coverage for any veteran of 4 years or more of the US Armed Forces. As someone who’s met several people who qualify for VA benefits, I know better than anyone that this system works far better than any other healthcare system.

  6. Elijah Camba says:

    Its honestly depressing even old people can’t have a break from hardships, even in retirement. I used to believe that retirement would be a paradise, but now I realize that not enough resources are provided, which is concerning knowing that my parents aren’t getting any older. Honestly, it is a matter of how policymakers and government officials care about these civilians. So really, they have to pass the right policies. They just don’t.

    Learning that young people like me are struggling to get jobs sounds horrifying. In fact, it bothers me, knowing that we have pressure on us to get a job. To be honest, I am not well adapted into the economy, so I can’t have a concrete solution other than hoping that our economy will be suited for us to have jobs that can allow us to afford to live.

  7. Vishnu Gadepalli says:

    I think the most obvious solution would be to lower the costs of medical care. Regardless of any compensation granted to retirees, it is usually not enough. Health care should be considered a right like in so many other countries. People end up working longer than they need to which only worsens their health more through the stress and effects a career has on people. This only further perpetuates the effects expensive health care has on retirees and the hole they dug themselves gets deeper. This additionally results in too many old people in the workforce and doesn’t leave many open spots for younger people entering the field. I believe that taxes would need to be raised in order for this plan to be enacted and over time they would be decreased as the economy returns to optimal performance.

  8. James M. Talamo says:

    I think the best thing to do is simply provide people with the means to retire. With our generation (hopefully) being more educated in retirement, this issue will hopefully be solved on its own with time. Until then, we have to support our aging population who had less education on how to retire.

    The elephant in the room though is simply the American health care system, with its ridiculous prices, and for a lot of Americans, the lack of medical facilities to even receive treatment from. It’s been discussed for years about how the system needs a makeover. When people can be bleeding out on the side of the road, and they choose to try to drive to the hospital because of the cost of an ambulance ride, it’s obvious that something has gone wrong

  9. Mira Patel says:

    As a solution to the problem that we are currently facing regarding retirement, we could lower the age requirement for medicare eligibility in hopes to allow people to retire at an earlier age. Along with assisting people to retire, lowering the age requirement would help others get into the professions that they are interested in. Also, because medical care is extremely expensive in the United States, we could try lowering the cost of care in our country. This will help many people considering retirement to take the leap, even with pre-existing conditions, because they will have to worry less about the finances that come along with medical care.

  10. Julia Nguyen says:

    In life, we study, we go to college, we get jobs, and practically work to death. In this day and age, retirement isn’t Actually retirement due to the heaping amounts of expenses we would pay just for being old. I believe I way to combat this conflicting construct is if the government cared more about its aging populations by passing laws to ensure that those seeking retirement are adequately supplied with the resources to do so. Getting old, without a doubt, will affect the physicality of a being, making it more difficult to work with age. Because aging is natural and something we simply cannot fight against, the question isn’t in how to get aging populations to work while old, but how to get aging populations to retire while not worrying about finances. The minimum age to receive Medicare should be lowered because right now, you have to be 67 years old or have a disability. Once again, age and disability is something we cannot control– we have to focus on allowing easier access to the benefits of Medicare in order to allow older populations to retire and for younger populations to enter the workforce. This is an issue, as well, in minority/low-income background populations. The idea of retirement is blissful, but attaining this is an issue needed to be dealt with legislatively.

  11. Kadie Van says:

    Getting old is a terrible feeling. The back starts to ache, sight gets worse, and worst of all, your life begins to fade. Growing up, you never really get to enjoy your life as school, college, and jobs keep you from being laid back. After retirement, that is when you have the time to relax, but now days, even retirement is hard and really expensive. To aid with the retirement process, I believe we should lower the age limit in which people may receive help with Medicare. In addition, there should be a resource that will help the older people ensure that retirement will not be as expensive or difficult to deal with.

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