I think your math is off by about 10 years. If you start "real work" at 25, 55 is 30 years later. And 55 is viewed as an early retirement but was obtainable through investments, etc. I agree with you though that this is a old way of thinking and was really fueled by the baby boomers and pre-boomers because of their life expectancy. Having to be supported for the first 25 years and after 55 for another 20 or 30 years seems unsustainable.
We have to change our way of thinking about jobs in general then though. If you want people to work until 65 or later, there are some jobs that just aren't suitable for someone that age. Just think of all the IT personnel over the age of 50 who can't find work in their field because they're still using old coding languages. Or anything that involves intense physical labour. Don't get me wrong, there are some middle-aged and older people who I couldn't hold a candle to physically but the majority aren't in this category.
Getting a bit off topic here too, but in the next 20 years there is going to be a whole generation of elderly caregivers to deal with the baby boom age. When this generation gets to be around 50-60, what are they going to do for work as well because the elderly that they've cared for won't be as plentiful by then.
If you save and invest for your future retirement early instead of waiting on government pension plans and you have all your bills paid off, there's no reason to think you couldn't stop working sooner rather than later. I for one am aiming for "Freedom 55"
Yes... my bad... However, I would like to note that with medicine it's feasible many people could live into their 90s in the future that's almost 40 years at the end of the life they are being supported, and I'm sorry, but I can't see the younger generations wanting to support that kind system. This would be FAR less pronounced if the Baby Boomers had produced offspring that outnumbered them. I.e. this system really only works as long as there are more younger workers than there are elderly, which in most Western countries is not the case, and Japan is becoming the first really good example of what goes wrong when there are too many old compared to the young. I also agree with you about jobs too, however I don't think that the elderly must necessarily do full on jobs, there are many part time jobs which can also be productive and allow them to support themselves, many older folks have second to none cooking skills, also I wonder in the future if there will be a Micro-Agriculture boom and perhaps people may join into local farmers markets to sell crops they have grown in their yards (be this spices, vegetables, fruits, honey, etc... I would certainly go for some types of employment like that, and those agriculture jobs aren't too intensive and it keeps people active which stops the obesity and unhealthy problem too.
Edited by MarcZ, 28 February 2013 - 06:20 AM.