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Must growing old mean becoming poorer and lonelier?

Reported in the Guardian (22 July 2017): The cash saved by raising retirement age should be used to tackle this growing social problem

Maybe it was just a trick of the light, but for the first time I thought I could see people in their 30s and 40s twitch as they began to realise how dark their twilight years could be.

All discussions about retirement must begin by acknowledging the primacy of class. In normal circumstances, the wealthy middle aged will enjoy a wealthy old age. Modern intergenerational unfairness is as nothing when set against inequalities in income and assets. And yet and yet... When the government announced that 7 million people born between 1970 and 1978 will now have to wait until they are 68 before they can claim the state pension, the economics of a new Britain, where life is long but money is short, shifted into view.

Nagging thoughts needled those of us fortunate enough to have jobs we enjoy. Barring sickness or family tragedy, we could work until we were almost 70. But would employers want us? More to the point, what of manual workers and shop workers who cannot possibly keep going for so long? Deduct 68 from the Bible’s three score years and 10, and you have only two years left, a calculation worth keeping in mind as you remember that life expectancy is lower for the poor than the rich.


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