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As knowledge work becomes the new norm of work, lowering the retirement age becomes more important than ever
Knowledge work is a profession that involves producing unique knowledge. People that work in these professions use their expertise to solve complex problems and develop new products or services. They often have formal training, such as college or professional certification. Examples of knowledge workers include:

  • accountants
  • lawyers
  • engineers
  • scientists
  • architects
  • pharmacists
  • physicians

Me personally, I would not want to my doctor to be working at an old age. As a citizen, I wouldn't want an old person designing the bridges in my city. For publicly traded companies, they wouldn't want their own accountants and their auditors to be old. For anyone that is fighting to prove their innocence, they wouldn't want a lawyer that is dealing with early stages of dementia. Everyone else will agree with these ideas. Even the knowledge workers themselves know that it would better for themselves and for the rest of the world to retire earlier than stretch their cognitive capabilities and end up making a mistake that hurts thousands of people.

As the country of France raises the retirement age to 64 and presidential candidates in the US looking to raise the retirement age above the current age 70, it's important to remember that these nations are doing this to reduce their pension obligations and other benefits that they offer retired people. They're not restricting people from retiring early. Those who buy tons of dividend growth stocks when they're younger and are able to retire at age 30 or 40 can avoid working and make money off of the dividends, however, they won't be able to receive the retirement benefits that the elderly get from the government until they meet the age requirement.

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With that out of the way, we need to understand why lowering the retirement age for knowledge workers is more important than ever.

As the nature of work continues to evolve, with more jobs focused on knowledge and information rather than manual labor, lowering the retirement age has become more crucial than ever before. Though people are living longer, the mental and physical stresses of the modern workforce are burning out employees faster than in past eras. Reducing the retirement age would allow knowledge workers to enjoy more years in full retirement.

A major reason to lower the retirement age is that knowledge-based professions tend to take a significant mental toll on workers. Staring at screens and juggling abstract concepts all day leads to fatigue and burnout. While those in physically demanding jobs face declining endurance and health, knowledge workers face declining cognitive capabilities and motivation. Just like construction workers can't be expected to keep up the same demanding tasks into their late 60s, knowledge workers have diminishing returns in focusing intensely and creatively as they get older.

In addition, the rapid pace of technological change makes it hard for older knowledge workers to keep their skills fresh. Learning new software, systems, and processes becomes more cognitively challenging with age. An earlier retirement allows aging employees to step back before their skills become obsolete. It also opens up opportunities for younger workers with fresh skillsets to advance into higher roles.

While some worry about the costs of an earlier retirement, the boosts to mental health, workforce dynamism, and social engagement are well worth it. With knowledge work continuing to dominate the economy, lowering the retirement age is not only feasible but prudent. Workers in both physical and mental realms deserve a chance to fully enjoy their later years. The knowledge economy needs an early and active retirement.
AP News
Why are French workers angry about raising retirement age?
Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of France Thursday for the 11th day of nationwide resistance to a government proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The furious public reaction to the plan has cornered and weakened French President Emmanuel Macron. France’s highest body on constitutional affairs will be considering the higher retirement age issue and France’s highest decision-maker in public affairs is expected to issue a ruling this month that Macron’s opponents hope will severely limit his proposal.

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