Why (not) retire at 60 | By Dr Zia Ahmed


Why (not) retire at 60

RETIRING at 60 is not justified because one is enriched with experience, skills and knowledge at a mature age.

Instead of getting any benefit, we put the person at 60 on retirement and send him home with some money to lead a life of misery and loneliness along with the feeling of depression of doing nothing and not proving a valuable member of society.

Nonetheless, there are a few departments whose retirees are rehired and given better chances to survive, thrive, and claim an even more significant financial chunk.

This is supported by famous philosopher Bertrand Russell, who claimed that politicians and heads of entrepreneurs are not retired because they have attained maximum skills and practical knowledge to keep on working.

But why not the same formulae be applied to all the working class that they should not be retired until they can work?

One should be working till one can do so because work gives not only financial independence but also a type of happiness that comes from work only.

Above all sense of being wanted comes only with work. Yes, such people can be allowed to change the nature of their work. They may not be working on the assignment they did as young people.

The nature of work should benefit and guide young people and let them benefit from their skills, knowledge, and experience.

The best example is the appointment of the Vice-Chancellors which can be appointed till the age of 65, and if we include the tenure given to them, the period of their employment may be complete at the age of 70 almost.

Most of the Vice Chancellors have proved to be healthy, positive and prosperous in their performance in higher education institutions.

The same formulae should be devised for others who are forced to retire at 60. The same is the case with politicians, especially if they are heading the political party; they can be 70 years or even 80 and not retire at all.

It has also been found that retired Judges and Generals are allowed to work as long as possible.

Many farmers never quit and keep on serving their families by working on their lands. Farmers and many related to the farming industry keep on working till death.

Only government employees are forced to go home when they are most useful for the country and the community.

These extensions, permissions and acceptability must also be applied to the general masses for multiple reasons.

Firstly, as soon as a man gets retired, the family, children and the relevant people begin considering them a burden without thinking that that person provided for them throughout his life.

It is because now he is not earning, and so is a duty upon the surviving family. Secondly, in many cases, a retiree’s wife is at least five years younger than the husband, and after retirement, the retiree has to manage the well-being and financial needs of the wife for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

Thirdly, the possibility is also that the retiree at the age of 60 may be having young kids, who may be able to earn after 10 to 15 years, so the retiree has to manage this expense also—accepted that most retirees are given a lump sum amount of money at the time of retirement which becomes very soon insufficient because of the increasing inflation and rising cost of living.

So, in my opinion, the retirement age must be increased so that older adults may feel good because of their work and keep on providing for their families as a reward for their work.

It will help them respectably maintain their families with positive pride until they leave. It has been proved by private businesses and jobs that skilled people can keep on working until they can without retiring at age 60.

If this is possible in the private sector, why is it forced upon the public services areas? So, the system must be revamped thoroughly and designed on the fact that anyone who is healthy and strong and takes an interest in their work must be allowed to work instead of putting them at the mercy of the family and socio-political cruelties of their people.

This will save older adults from social and political humiliation for not being in power and lacking funds.

They will be better able to provide for their young ones and their wives, especially if they are younger.

Right now, in Pakistan, many people who have retired, in other words, have been abandoned.

The government is paying a considerable sum for their pensions, but they are not contributing anything to the veins of society.

The plans are being devised to shorn them of their pension money, aggravating the situation further.

So, it is the right time that compulsory retirement at the age of 60 must be done away with and let people have an opportunity for a graceful final exit.

—The writer is a Professor of English at Emerson University, Multan, and has a vast international exposure.


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