We are kicking people out of the workforce too early.
This might be odd to think about, as most of us are only beginning to enter the workforce, but even as young adults, we should be concerned.
According to 2015 US Census Bureau data, the average age of retirement in the United States is 63. As the average life expectancy in 2015 is 81.2 years for females and 76.4 years for males, some individuals are being channeled out of the workforce before they want to or need to.
If a company is downsizing, an easy way to cut down on employees is to offer early retirement to the older employees. Additionally, if a company is hiring, it is more likely to hire someone younger that it can give a smaller initial salary to (due to less work experience and certifications) and more easily train to company standards.
This is an issue for two main reasons. One, we as a society are not capitalizing on all of our labor force. It is inefficient to have individuals who are willing and able to work but cannot find or retain a job due to their age.
Additionally, these individuals are further depleting an already scarce social security fund. If the social security system is to last for future generations, we should be encouraging individuals to postpone retirement and postpone withdrawing.
Secondly, early retirement can lead to loneliness, isolation and depression. A 2014 American Psychological Association article, “Retiring minds want to know,” which claims many people experience depression during retirement but are embarrassed to say anything about it.
There is a social expectation that retirement is “living the good life.” For individuals who establish their identities through their careers, retirement can lead to a loss in identity and purpose. Newfound free time does not lead to freedom. It becomes crippling.
We are kicking many individuals out of the workforce too early and simultaneously pushing them out of mainstream society. Their opinions are not recognized nor valued. A young workforce is great because it brings fresh ideas to the table, but without a counterbalance of knowledge and wisdom gained from past failures, it is bound to fail.
Abby Bruce is a junior international studies and Spanish major from Saltillo.