When discussing living longer with teaching staff I sometimes encounter a defensive response along the lines – ‘I’m not comfortable with the idea of telling our students that they are going to have to work longer – they won’t understand’ to which my answer is ‘Give them credit…’
I work with many people making the transition from education to the working world and they understand – in fact I’m beginning to think it is the teachers – and others of that generation – who don’t want to understand!
Today’s school leavers get it – they know that by the time they reach 65 there will be no such thing as ‘retirement’. Instead they will continue working until they have sufficient savings to at first slow down and then eventually stop work. Retire today and if all you have to live on is your state pension then you will be living on roughly 25% of average earnings – certainly not enough to fund your ‘bucket list’ or indeed anything like a comfortable retirement.
Why isn’t the Government doing something about this you ask? Well, it is – they are taking practical steps to bring about change, but maybe not the steps you might imagine. So far:
- The right to enforce retirement at 65 has gone
- UK State pension age has been raised (and the trend set to continue)
- Compulsory workplace pension schemes have been introduced
And it’s not stopping there currently under consideration
- An NHS levee on workers over 40
- Later life employability training
- Raising the upper age limit on things like jury service
And no doubt plenty more to follow.
Those in secondary education are worldly wise and see how the world is changing. What impresses me most are those who see it, accept it and are making their own alternative plans. Recently I’ve been staggered by the number of people around 30 I’ve met who have quit promising jobs in established careers so they can take a break and have an ‘adventure’. Ask them why and the answers are refreshingly frank:
- They know they will not be in a position to have a bucket list later in life – so they are doing it now
- They know their current skills will need to change and evolve if they are to remain relevant – so they are making that happen
- Their employers are not making long term investments in them – and they are reciprocating!
I, for one, give them credit!