Retirement age – the elephant in the room

Berlin. The linguistic picture of “the elephant in the room” describes a major problem that is obvious to many people – one that most people ignore nonetheless. There is also such an elephant in the room in German pension policy. The question is at what age a person can retire regularly and without any deductions.

Fortunately, people’s life expectancy is increasing. Politicians don’t like to talk about the least fun part – that logically some of this extra life should be spent working.

So it is good that the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics has now taken a step on the matter. Scientists’ suggestion is welcome in two respects. First, because they have the courage to point out the need for a longer working life. And second, because they outline a solution that could make things a lot easier for politicians in the future — once they decide to fix.

The idea is as simple as it is compelling: the evolution of retirement age and life expectancy can be linked together. This way when life expectancy generally increases, the amount of time it takes to work and the amount of retirement are determined.

This mechanism may mean that the appropriate adjustment is already taking place – without politicians always waiting too long in fear of voters.

For those who cannot work for a long time, effective exceptions should be made. At the same time, companies need the will to keep older employees in the company for the long haul and benefit from their expertise.

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