Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Retirement Age: From 56 to 60

Looks like the Government has finally considered increasing the retirement age in Malaysia to 60. [PDF] A timely change if you ask me. Although I'm only at a tender *ahem* age of 27, I've been supporting such a move for years.
Government to study longer term for civil servants

PUTRAJAYA: The Government will study extending the retirement age of civil servants to 60.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the current retirement age of 56 was too low for one to retire.

He said the longer life span and better health enjoyed by Malaysians now should also be taken into account. [...]
So, why do I support this? With medical advancement, our life expectancy have increased through the years, currently averaging about 70/75 (male/female). We are living longer than our forefathers. More people are living to the age of 80 and above. That gives you roughly 25 years of retirement if you would to retire at the age of 56. If you started working at the age of say 20, that would mean you spent about 35 years in the workforce.

Previously, when our life expectancy were lower, we spent less time in retirement, thus having to support our daily needs for a shorter period. And let's not forget that things were much cheaper in those days. So we practically work the same number of years (even shorter if you take into consideration the pursuit for paper qualifications nowadays) but our lifetime savings and investment have to last longer and also fend off the inflation monster.

If the retirement age were to be increased, not only will we cut short the time we spend in retirement (but still with a large chunk available to enjoy retirement life), we would also increase our retirement savings which would eventually translate to better retirement life.

Of course, there will be other economic ramifications such as the problem with unemployment since the workforce turnover (or renewal) will reduce causing young graduates more difficulty in finding jobs. The increased burden for employers to support an aging workforce (especially healthcare) would also increase. However, with the extension of the retirement age, we are extending the purchasing power of potential retirees by an extra four years. Idealistically, that money will go back to the economy (through taxes and commercial purchases) which is good for the Government and businesses. This will eventually create more jobs, thus helping to ease the unemployment of young graduates. It is during the transition period where we will see problems arise.

There are those who are against the increase in retirement age and can't wait to start enjoying retirement life. Of course, even with a higher retirement age, they still have an option for early retirement and they may choose to exercise that right if they wish to do so. They can then pursue their hobbies or trot around the globe as planned earlier.

It is always important to stay active during retirement but many find it difficult to adapt to the sudden change in environment and that's when disease creeps in. Many people are still able to contribute after the age of 56 and they have plenty to offer. Look at our former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad! He's 81 and still working like a horse, embracing the changes that life may bring.

I'm not saying the retirement age should go up to 80 but 60 is a good start and a good figure for now. It's not such an outrageous figure if you consider the retirement age of other nations are already 65 and breaching 70 even, and scientists are already recommending a retirement age of 85 by the year 2050! [PDF]


  1. i think this should be implemented in stages though, otherwise we end up having no one retiring for 5 years.

  2. yup, agreed...that's why i wouldn't be surprised if it was increased to 58 only.