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20 Bleak Scenarios if 70 Emerges as the New Retirement Age in the US

Here in the US, the retirement age has remained static for years after being pushed back multiple times in the last century. But with a “silver tsunami” of Americans about to turn 65 and enter the golden years, the retirement age could be pushed back again. The main reason is to reduce the long-term deficit of Social Security’s finances. But what could this monumental decision mean for life in the US? Here are 20 things that could happen if the retirement age increases.

Changing Workplace Demographics

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Naturally, increasing the retirement threshold will cause the average age of workers to rise. Instead of having nobody in the office over 65, the workplace demographic will suddenly be more diverse. This will allow for an exchange of ideas and styles of working, with age groups able to learn from one another. 

Ergonomic Offices

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As we age, sitting at a desk all day on a rigid chair becomes increasingly uncomfortable, with stiff joints and back pain to contend with. As the retirement age increases, offices may have to become more ergonomic and adapt to the needs of older employees. 

Retirement Will Be A Gradual Transition

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Despite the retirement age increasing, many older people will want to begin winding down before they stop working. The traditional abrupt retirement, ceasing work all of a sudden, might be replaced with a gradual transition. People may take on less work as they approach 70 or work different shifts. 

Cultural Shifts Surrounding Ageing

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One element of ageism is that senior citizens are seen as less productive and, therefore, less useful. But if the retirement age increases, so might the culture surrounding ageing. More seniors in the workforce could help reshape the narrative and give older people more say.

Legal Adjustments

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Such a big change will mean laws and policies need readjusting. Retirement policies across private and public sectors would need to align, and pension plans would need updating. 

Increasing Consumerism

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If people over 65 cannot retire for another five years, their disposable income will likely increase. With more money in the bank, they’re susceptible to consumerist trends and will likely spend more money on unessential items. 

Delayed Careers For Younger People

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When one employee starts their retirement, it leaves their job open to younger rising stars within the company. But with older people staying in work, particularly in managerial roles, younger folk might not see the career progression they once did. 

More Remote Work

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Remote positions have taken off since the pandemic, and if there are more people over 65 years old working than before, this trend may continue to rise. Constant commuting takes a toll on people as they age, meaning companies could shift towards hybrid or fully remote teams. 

More Career Training

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Staying up to date with the ever-changing demands of your career can be a challenge at any age, but particularly for older people. With the rise of new technologies, companies will likely implement more training programs to keep older employees up to speed. 

Psychological implications

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There could be both positive and negative psychological implications of working later. On one hand, older people would retain their sense of purpose and feel more productive, leading to increased well-being. On the other hand, mental fatigue and burnout are more likely.

Physical Implications

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Working later in life has been linked to several health challenges. While seniors in the workforce might be more likely to stay fit and exercise, they are also at more risk of mobility issues and cognitive decline.  

Social Security System Changes

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By raising the retirement age, the Social Security System will be able to delay payouts and increase contributions. While this might not be ideal for retirees, it’s hoped that this will help to stabilize the overall system and ensure there’s enough to go around. 

The Housing Market Will Change

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More seniors in work means less demand for retirement housing across the states. With employees needing to stay close to their offices and public transport links, the housing market may adapt. 

Retirement Income Planning

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Retiring later in life means people won’t receive their pensions as early as expected. To make ends meet, long-term financial planning is key. Businesses may start schemes to help younger employees plan for later retirement and manage their finances. 

Delayed Wealth Transfer

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While later retirements could lead to larger inheritances, the transfer of this wealth may be delayed. As older relatives save up their money for longer, younger family members could miss out on the chance to invest or buy houses. 

Age-Related Bias In The Workplace

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Ageism is a real concern here in the US and often presents itself in the workplace. With older employees becoming more common, businesses could see more age-related bias among their workers. To tackle this, employers may need to implement welfare checks, introduce team-building programs, and do their best to prevent ageism. 

Increased Government Revenue

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People living longer, healthier lives and staying in the workplace also means they’re paying tax for longer. This additional welfare could help the US government address societal issues and offset the costs of an ageing population. 

Less Volunteering and Community Engagement 

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As people enter the golden years of retirement, one way they like to stay active and relevant is by volunteering. Community engagement projects and local charities often consist of senior citizens looking to make a difference and use their wisdom for good. However, if the retirement age increases, seniors will have less time for philanthropic pursuits. 

More Health Benefits For Employees

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As we age, the likelihood of developing diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular issues increases. Seniors are also at risk of dental problems, declining eye health, and various infections. To help ensure the health of their older employees, businesses may need to extend their medical benefit programs. 

Public Transport Improvements

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With more people working into their late 60s, the public transport system will need to make adjustments to cope with a surge in commuters. This may lead to investment in infrastructure and changes made to ensure transport options are safe, comfortable, and accessible for seniors. 

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