Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mitchell on Retirement

In an interview, economist Olivia Mitchell says we should work longer:

Q. We've all heard about the gap between what people are saving and what they will need. Is the situation all that bad?

A. It's not ideal, but there is a solution that can have a powerfully positive impact: deferring retirement. Quitting at age 65 instead of 62 - just three more years - cuts the average savings shortfall in half! So even small steps make a big difference.

Q. But is it realistic to urge people to work into old age?

A. With proper planning and investment in your skills ("human capital"), it should be possible to construct a string of careers that will keep you going until your seventies and beyond - at least part time. I tell my students that they should study not for their first job but as if they're going to have six or 10 careers.