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April, 2001, Vol. 124, No. 4
Changing retirement age: ups and downsWilliam J. Wiatrowski
I grow old
I grow old
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
The Waste Land and Other Poems
(Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1934)
In Eliots well-known poem, the narrator acknowledges that he is growing old. In todays world, he might get confused trying to figure out what constitutes old ageor more exactly, what constitutes retirement age. Consider the following:
A child born today can be expected to live until age 76.
Someone who turns age 65 today can expect to live until age 83.
The fastest growing segment of the population is those aged 85 and older.
The age at which full Social Security retirement benefits can be received has been increasing gradually to age 67.
Many defined benefit pension plans allow retirement with full benefits at age 60 or 62.
Most defined benefit pension plans allow early retirement at age 55 or earlier.
The fastest growing types of retirement plans allow participants to leave their employer and take their benefits at any time, regardless of age.
Certain retirement accounts can be accessed without penalty once an individual reaches age 59½.
Some accounts require distributions beginning no later than age 70½.
There is no longer a mandatory retirement age for most workers, and Federal law protects older workers against discrimination regardless of their age.
This excerpt is from an article published in the April 2001 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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