Saturday, May 29, 2010

Retirement dreams fallen apart

There are rumors that the Romanian government is going to remove the right to retire before 60, as part of the fiendish plan to reform the pension system and keep public finances afloat.
The decision is obviously taken due to deepening recession and swelling unemployment, but also the tendency to keep the pace with the most successful Western European Union countries that have risen their legal retirement age to 60 or even so, long time ago and are now considering to rise it again.

I don’t really know what to say. I am bewildered at this troubling news, trying to warn off my dreams about a happy retirement.

I have always wished to buy a peaceful small cottage in the countryside and dedicate the rest of my days after retirement to reading, writing and spending time surrounded by nature. Now, I am not even sure I would ever reach that moment. Now I am not motivated enough to live, knowing that I would have to work the most part of my life and perhaps die at the office sometime before the legal retirement age. You have to be bullish not to see what this is all about.

Our government’s purported intention is certainly not to destroy our dreams, but their indefatigable desire to take away from us the only period in our lives when we can actually do what we like leads quite to that cruel resolution.
I agree that our country’s legal retirement age is one of the lowest in Europe, but this avalanche of spending cuts, growing taxes and painful reforms are making us very vulnerable and uncertain about our future. Is there any future at all?

The attempt to restructure a pension system, which is, by the way, neither the greatest nor the most generous in Europe, successfully stokes our patience and hurts our expectations, marking the beginning of another epoch for common people: that of indifference and lack of interest towards work. There is nothing left to persuade us, there is no bright perspective. We are genuinely pessimistic and totally disgusted.

The most stupid argument I ever heard was: “a rise in the retirement age is inevitable as people live longer and save less”. Do we really live longer than our great-grand-parents lived? I remember that my great-grand-father died at 90 and my great-grand-mother at 94, my grand-mother is now 81 and she’s quite in good health. They are probably making a comparison with the middle ages when millions of people used to die under 60 from incurable diseases such as the plague or cholera, or were devastated by frequent and violent wars.

In UK the retirement age is progressively increasing to 68-70 years, in France to 63, in Germany to 67… How sad is that?
Our generation is currently intimidated by the prospect of saving for a pension, which seems to be so faraway.

I don’t believe in predictions of increased life expectancy. Our politicians are callously and self-destructively feeding this idea to make excuses for their lame decisions.
We work all our life and sometimes even neglect our health in the scramble to find tranquility and security after retirement.
That small cottage in the countryside was my balm, my idea of redemption, after a debilitating life dedicated to work.

Negotiating the controversial rise in the legal retirement age, while the economy remains deep in the dumps, is the government’s opportunity for global grandstanding and our opportunity for rethinking our values and hopes.
Bereft of our “small cottages”, give us something in return, something worthy and motivating enough to make us want to still get up every day and go to work…


Stela Gheorghe said...

Mi-a placut ce a comentat un francez pe site-ul Liberation apropo de acest subiect: "A quoi sert une retraite si on meurt avant d'en profiter?" :)

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