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  #111  
Old 10-13-2010, 08:25 AM
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB2000...428912510.html

Quote:
Across Europe, governments are raising retirement ages in response to budget woes. In France, more than a million people are expected to participate in strikes and rallies Tuesday to protest a two-year increase in the retirement age to 62. The Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Turkey are boosting their retirement ages to 65. Germany's retirement is moving to 67, Britain's to 68.

Nevertheless, a few select groups can still call it quits much earlier. In Spain, matadors can retire their capes at 55, 10 years earlier than other Spaniards. Spanish trapeze artists can collect checks at 60. In Iceland, seaman can retire at 60, seven years earlier than other workers, according to a World Bank survey.

And in Russia, dwarves are eligible to retire at 40, if they are female, men at 45, reflecting a Soviet-era concern for their shorter lifespans.

Serbian dance unions think ballerinas work too long. The union has been lobbying to lower the age that ballerinas can hang up their toe shoes—from 50 to the mid-40s—ever since Serbia agreed to change its retirement rules last year.
....
But she argues that the government has already made enough of a concession to the dancers by freezing their retirement age at 50.

"It's difficult enough for me to explain to a woman in a factory why ballerinas can retire at 50," she says. Parliament is expected to take up the government's pension reform system by November.

In the old Yugoslavia, ballet dancers were a privileged group in an arts scene heavily influenced by the Soviet Union. Serbian ballerinas could retire at 42 back then and male dancers at 45, union officials say.
....
Not all older ballet dancers are eager for a change, however. Because they are considered government employees, National Theater dancers draw full government salaries until they are 50, whether they perform or not.

Some dancers show up at the theater to practice. Others don't bother. Retirement would reduce their pay outs by at least 40%.
....
In Serbia's second-largest city, Novi Sad, 49-year-old Momcilo Nenadovic, a ballet dancer and union rep, sips coffee at the rooftop café of the fortress-like Serbian National Theater. He's determined to reduce the retirement age even though that would reduce his own income. He collects a €380 monthly salary although he hasn't danced in four years.

The government is bound to crack down on a nondancing dancer, he figures, leaving older performers worse off. Better to slash the retirement age now, so dancers can quit when they should.

Mr. Nenadovic's friend, Branislav Jatic, a 54-year-old opera singer who slugs down vodka, warns him not to expect the government to budge. He recalls one strike by singers and dancers in Novi Sad to replace a theater director.

"The government officials told us that if we were bakers they would react," he says. "But they said that you artists can strike as long as you like."
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  #112  
Old 10-13-2010, 09:47 AM
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The French are simply entitled and allergic to work. I don't understand why strikes erupt over this common sense proposal.
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  #113  
Old 10-13-2010, 10:47 AM
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The French love to go on strike, especially railway workers. They have 1-2 day strikes on a semi-regular basis.
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  #114  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:03 AM
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So the French are doing their thing, It's our birthright! Though most of us striking were born WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY before 1982, when that "birthright" was enacted.

Seriously, guys, you picked some bad centuries to stop smoking.

Let's do an overview of the retirement ages in Europe:
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/finan.../D9IU80R03.htm

Quote:

-- Britain; 65 for men and 60 for women. The government has started plans to raise women's pension age to 65 by 2012. Authorities are also looking to raise the state pension age further to 68, although plans are not due to begin before 2024.

-- Germany; 65, but government is debating raising it to 67.

-- Italy; people in the private sector can retire at 60 if they have paid into the social security system for at least 35 years; Under a reform begun a few years ago, the age is being gradually raised and by 2018 it will be 65.

-- Netherlands; 65, but new government has pledged to raise it to 66.

-- Austria; women at 62, men at 65; there have been repeated calls to raise age but no concrete measures taken yet.

-- Spain; 65, but government has pledges to raise it to 67. This one of the reforms unions cited but unions that staged general strike in September;

-- Greece; 65 for men, 60 for women. There are plans to raise women's retirement age to 65 by 2013 for public service, and private sector likely to follow. As part of austerity measures in Greece, early retirement opportunities are being drastically cut back.

-- Switzerland; 65 for men, 64 for women. Business groups are pushing for it to be gradually raised to 67 for both sexes by 2030.

-- Sweden; ordinary retirement age in Sweden is 65 but Swedes have the right to retire as early as 61 and as late as 67.

-- Norway; 67.

-- Denmark; 67.

-- Belgium; 65.
Anyway, the bill passed the French Senate:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-1...2-from-60.html
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  #115  
Old 10-25-2010, 01:40 PM
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Spoke with a business owner who ran an enterprise in France. In his view:

25% want to work hard and achieve.
25% want to work sufficiently to meet their obligation.
50% don't meet either category.
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  #116  
Old 10-25-2010, 01:46 PM
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I don't want to get too snotty about the French (for one, I work for a French company) -- plenty of Americans fall in that "other" category as well.

The difference is that people in the U.S. are a little more realistic as to whether retirement at age 60 is a birthright worth rioting over.
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  #117  
Old 10-25-2010, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
I don't want to get too snotty about the French (for one, I work for a French company) -- ALMOST ALL of Americans fall in that "other" category as well.
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  #118  
Old 10-25-2010, 03:48 PM
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Noted.
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  #119  
Old 11-07-2010, 06:20 PM
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Ok, I'm throwing in SocSec stuff in here. I just flip a coin as to where I put stuff.

[no, I don't. I just have 7 links open and they all have retirement age in common. I'm just lazy.]

In no particular order (okay, consecutive order in my tabs for convenience to me):

Ezra Klein:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezr...nt_age_is.html

Quote:
When people talk about "raising the retirement age," they normally mean raising the "full-retirement age." That means the age where you get what Social Security calls "full benefits." Right now, it's about 66. But most people don't retire at 66. They retire at 62 or 63 -- that is to say, they retire as soon as they're eligible, even if it means getting less in benefits. That reveals an important preference: So much as pundits and elites think it's easy and natural for people to work later into life, most people don't actually agree. They retire as soon as possible.

If you raise the full-retirement age to 70, you'll probably still see people retiring at 62 or 63. They'll just get less in benefits. In that way, raising the retirement age is another way of saying "cutting benefits."

Andrew Biggs has proposed doing something different: He'd raise the "early-retirement age" -- that is, the age at which you can first retire and begin collecting benefits -- from 62 to 65. You couldn't retire at 62 and get less. Benefits would begin only at 65. This will improve the system's finances, he says, and also mean larger annual benefits when people do retire. "The evidence indicates that most Americans could work longer and would benefit from doing so," he writes. "This strikes me as sensible," says Andrew Sullivan.
....
Leisure time at the end of life is something we can buy. The question is whether we want it. Elites don't, and so raising the retirement age is very popular among them. They -- or maybe I should say we -- want to work until 70, and 75, and 85. It's a painless reform for us, and so we've convinced ourselves it's a painless reform for most people. Conversely, we don't want to raise taxes on ourselves, and so you don't hear much about lifting the cap on the payroll tax that funds Social Security. But, funnily enough, when you pose the question to Americans, they see it differently: They don't like taxes, but benefit cuts are much less popular. And notice that that poll question doesn't even note that the relevant tax would mainly hit wealthier Americans.

....
You might say, of course, that we can't afford to take that preference seriously. Sorry, but that's just not true. For one thing, we could close the Social Security gap by applying payroll taxes to all income, rather than just to the first $106,000. Oddly, however, the "raise taxes on wealthy people with good jobs" has less traction among wealthy people with good jobs than "make average people work longer at jobs they want to retire from."

Oh, young Ezra. If people want to retire early, they can SAVE THEIR OWN DAMN MONEY.

Jeez.

But fine, remove the salary cap (oh yay, I think I got one year's worth of enjoyment from that) for taxation purposes. I assume he doesn't want to remove the cap for calculating benefits....and thus my direction towards explicit welfare program is in effect.

Thanks for the support of my prediction for the future of SocSec, Ezra!

Another person not fond of higher retirement ages:
http://www.financialpost.com/news/Fi...740/story.html
Quote:
The topic of a “normal” retirement age is getting more than usual media attention lately because of the increasingly violent French protests about pushing theirs back to 62 from 60. Pity hard-working Germans, who retire at 65 but are being asked to wait until 67.
....
Here in Canada, there is no longer a mandatory retirement age. Until various provinces removed it, many otherwise willing workers were forced out the door at 65. That’s still considered “normal” retirement age by employer pensions. It is also the age Old Age Security benefits commence and the usual age to start receiving Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits.
....
BMO has released a report — When to Retire, Age Matters — that may cause Canadians to emulate Germany and keep working as long as possible. This is counter to a brief vogue when Canadians sought earlier retirement. In the 1970s, the median retirement age was 65, which fell to 60.6 by 1997. But it edged up to 61 in 2005.
....
Also, the longer you wait, the better your pension payouts, whether from employers or government. There are several proposals to broaden pension coverage, most based on enhancing the CPP.

Ms. Di Vito agrees with Morneau Sobeco actuary Fred Vettese, who argued in a paper that the simplest fix would be to raise — perhaps double — the base annual earnings on which CPP is calculated. Currently, it’s around $47,000. Doubling it to $94,000 would almost double benefits but not the required contributions from employees and employers.

Do that and Europeans will be directing their pension envy to Canadians.
Oh, it's nice to have magic money coming from nowhere.

Singapore: [I think "re-employment age" is retirement age, but I have no real idea. I looked it up, and I'm still confused.]

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...090650/1/.html
Quote:
Singapore's Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong has weighed in on a suggestion that the country's re-employment age may need to be raised to 68 years old.

He said the idea, recently floated by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng, was not impossible to imagine.
....
On the government's part, it is getting ready to introduce the re-employment legislation so that it can come into effect from 2012.

As a first step, re-employment age would go up from 62 to 65 years old.

Mr Gan said: "And we have said we are going to raise (the re-employment age) to 67 (years old) in the future. "Beyond that we will see how the development goes".

Mr Gan added it was not impossible for the re-employment age to go beyond 67 years old as life span increases.

"But our focus now is to get the re-employment legislation out so that our workers and employers can have more time to prepare, and the current legislation will look at moving our re-employment to 65 (years old) and then we will look at extending to 67 later on and maybe beyond," he said.
Thomas Terry for the Academy - I think I linked this in the SocSec thread, but here it is again:
http://www.lifeandhealthinsurancenew...ement-Age.aspx
Quote:
The normal Social Security retirement age should go up, according to the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA).

Thomas Terry, chair of the public interest committee at the AAA, Washington, has delivered that message in a letter sent on behalf of the AAA to the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

The commission is trying to find ways to reduce the federal budget deficit and deal with Social Security and Medicare benefits obligations.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/39852674
Quote:
The Case for Later Retirement

As the average human life span lengthens, it’s caused a shifting perception of not just what behaviors and lifestyles are appropriate for seniors, but also when old age begins.

“Later retirement is a very big trend,” says Stacy Francis, CFP and founder of the nonprofit organization Savvy Ladies. “More and more people are working to 65, even 70, out of necessity rather than wanting to be working. They have a different lifestyle than those of two or three decades ago—more active, vibrant, and expensive—travel, golf, dinner. To afford that lifestyle, they have to work a little longer than they hoped, and the stock market hasn’t helped them.”

Steve Weisman, a professor of elder and financial planning, cites the Social Security benefits of working into your later 60s and beyond. “The amount of Social Security a person receives is based in part on your highest earning 35 years. Working into your early 60s gives you the opportunity to increase the amount that you will ultimately be receiving from Social Security. Another way you can increase your benefits is to defer taking Social Security old age benefits until you are 70. By doing so, you can increase the amount of your Social Security benefits by 8% for each year that you delay taking full retirement benefits after you reach full retirement age which for many baby boomers is 66. Working longer also gives you more time to contribute to IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement vehicles. And the laws are written to permit people over the age of 50 to contribute more to their retirement accounts each year on a tax-advantaged basis.”
http://www.bankrate.com/financing/re...-until-age-65/
Quote:
I've already made up my mind that part of my retirement planning is to continue typing on this keyboard until my fingers don't work anymore. So I'm inclined to believe that a proposal from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, to get rid of the option to take Social Security at age 62 is a good idea. The report advocates raising the first opportunity to claim benefits to full retirement age -- 66, rising to 67 in about 2020.

The author of the recently released report, Andrew Biggs, a scholar in residence at the institute, outlines these advantages:

Prolong the life of the Social Security trust fund by five years, a modest but significant increase.
Raise median income of older Americans by $7,500 a year, including both increased Social Security benefits and savings and other pension income.
Boost gross domestic product by about 5 percent through increased productivity, adding billions to the economy and tax revenues.
Biggs says keeping people working until 66 or 67 isn't a physical problem for most these days. He points to another study by David Cutler, a Harvard researcher, conducted for the Retirement Research Center in Boston, that concluded that 65-year-old men have the capacity to work 90 percent as hard as men in their late 50s, and work capacity only declines to 70 percent at age 75.

So Biggs says to keep most people who were born in 1952 and later on the job for another four or five years, while continuing to make Social Security disability available to those who are physically or mentally unable to work that long.
http://sandiegonewsroom.com/news/ind...rnia&Itemid=50
Quote:
The state must raise the age of retirement and increase employee contributions to bring about reform in California’s pension system, argues a recent research study.

The Milken Institute study, “Addressing California's Pension Shortfalls,” claims that increasing retirement age would ensure that individuals contribute more to the pension and provide more money in the cash-strapped system.

California’s three largest pension plans, some of the most expensive pension plans in the country, are drastically underfunded. Earlier this month, The Foundation for Educational Choice revealed that the state pension system was underfunded by more than $326 billion. This number will only increase with the rising cost of education and number of retiring baby boomers, the Milken report stated.

“We’re talking about a perfect storm: more state services needed for an aging population, a workforce that will spend more years in retirement than they did contributing to the funds, and a smaller ratio of working-age taxpayers and contributing state workers to pay for it all,” said Perry Wong, Director of Regional Economics at the Milken Institute and co-author of the report in statement. “We’re only starting to feel the squeeze now, but every year that we wait to tackle the issue, it gets worse and progressively harder to address.”
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  #120  
Old 11-08-2010, 07:05 AM
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I made fun of the half-assed French protests over retirement age changes in the public pensions thread, but here's another one. I figure we've got another month of this before 1. Sarkozy signs the bill and 2. It gets too cold for protest activity.

http://www.todayonline.com/BreakingN...ment-age-to-62

Quote:
French protests against the government's bill to raise the retirement age have lost steam, as union leaders conceded a drop in turnout in nationwide marches - with President Nicolas Sarkozy all but certain to sign the measure into law this month.

The marches led by labor unions Saturday are the eighth of their kind since early September aimed to derail Sarkozy's efforts to boost the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Signs suggested that the turnout, possibly dented in part by persistent rain in Paris and other parts of France, was likely to be down compared to that of the last such demonstrations on Oct. 28.

Police estimated that 28,000 people turned out, down from 31,000 at the last one. Unions put Saturday's figure at 90,000 - nearly half the turnout they estimated in the Oct. 28 marches.

Reaction in Canada:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1783200/

Quote:
The idea of a 65-year retirement age in 2010, let alone in the future, is plainly silly – silliness we can blame on Otto von Bismarck, who established a social security system in Germany in the late 19th century and needed to declare a retirement age, which he set at 65. In the late 19th century, life expectancy was below 50, and hardly anyone made it to 65, so the Iron Chancellor’s government paid out only a pittance under the program.
....
Now is the time, while things are going well and workers aren’t berserk like in France, for Canada to put in place a very long-term fix that balances the greater life expectancy of younger Canadians with the requirement for funding their pensions.

Set 75 as the target retirement date and increase each person’s retirement age by an amount inversely proportional to their current age. For children between 0 and 4 as of Jan. 1, 2011, their retirement age would be 75. For each year of age greater as of Jan. 1, 2011, the retirement age would be two months earlier. For an 18-year-old, it would be 72 years 8 months. For a 40-year-old, 69 years. For a 54-year-old, 66 years 8 months, giving me 11 years to prepare to work for an extra 20 months. (I think I can manage that.) For a 60-year-old, it would require another eight months of work, and for a 64-year-old, nothing extra.

This would fix a long-run problem in a long-run fashion and would make the size of the individual contribution to the solution proportional to the time available for the individual to make that contribution. It would take 60 years to move us from 65 to 75, by which time we’d have to move again. But it would put us way out ahead of every other country on the planet and be a model for all of them to follow.
Of course, the low life expectancy in 19th century was due to high infant mortality, in addition to adult mortality. What was the life expectancy from age 25? I do have 1900 calendar year mortality tables from Social Security admin. I'll have to get back on that... I believe that adults did have a good chance to make it to age 65....

More from Canada:
http://www.thestarphoenix.com/busine...520/story.html
Quote:
France is not the only country to increase the retirement age. The United States, Germany, Iceland, Norway and Denmark currently have, or are moving toward, retirement ages of 67. The United Kingdom is increasing the full pension age to 68.

Did you know that 70 was the age originally chosen as the official public pension age by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1889? Years later, in 1916, Germany lowered the pension starting age to 65.
Will they get their story straight about Bismarck?!

Quote:
LIVING LONGER

We are living longer than ever before. We may be retired for as many years as we have been in the workforce.

FEWER CHILDREN

Three generations ago, elderly Canadians normally lived with their children. Today, the income-tax system pays for public pensions and our health-care system to help elderly Canadians stay independent for as long as possible. The next generation will have to pay the taxes. With the average family size getting smaller, the ratio of workers to retired seniors is getting smaller.

....
BOOMER AGE WAVE

The 10 million Canadians born between 1947 and 1966 have started to retire. The oldest boomers turn 65 in 2012 and will start collecting OAS. This huge generation of boomer retirees is a tsunami, ready to swamp our health-care system and our public-pension system.
....
Canada's other two public pensions -- Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) -- are both pay-as-you-go schemes. One way to cope with the wave of retiring boomers may be to increase the starting age for OAS and GIS, similar to France and other countries.

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