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21st February 2024

Retirement age rises to 71- say goodbye to hopes of relaxation and welcome to the never-ending rat race

The latest decision to raise the retirement age to 71 is another slap in the face to young people. When will we catch a break?
Retirement age rises to 71- say goodbye to hopes of relaxation and welcome to the never-ending rat race
Credit: Aaron Burden @ Unsplash

If you thought life in the UK couldn’t sink any lower amidst recession, endless strikes, and dreadful weather, think again. There’s more bad news on the horizon, as experts predict that retirement age will climb to 71 by 2050. I wish I was kidding. It’s a punchline no one finds funny, yet it’s the latest addition to the litany of hardships facing Britons.

Let’s face it, we’ve all thought about our future plans. Perhaps they involve lounging on exotic beaches, sipping cocktails, and finally mastering the art of leisure. As the retirement age keeps rising, those dreams are quickly turning into a harsh illusion, slipping further away. With the current housing crisis rendering it virtually impossible for young people to even get a foothold on the housing ladder, the prospect of the retirement age soaring to 71 feels like yet another brutal slap in the face.

If there’s one thing young people can agree on, it’s that we’ve had it up to here with the absurdity of it all. I mean, just the other day my friends and I were fantasising about the glory days and picturing ourselves causing mayhem in the same retirement home in 45 years. But never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d still be slaving away well into our seventies before we even get a shot at retirement. Sometimes I wonder if the people in charge are just playing a giant game of “how much can we mess with Gen-Z before they snap?”

First, they hike up housing prices so high that buying a shoebox in London requires selling your soul to the devil, and now they’re telling us we’ll be working until we’re collecting our pension slip on mobility scooters. Call me crazy, but last time I checked retirement was supposed to involve a bit of bingo, not trying to remember where you left your reading glasses while you’re stuck in a Zoom meeting at age 71. But hey, who needs a pension when you’ve got memes to sustain you, am I right?

At this rate, we’ll all be retiring to some dystopian future where the only thing left to enjoy is complaining about the weather and reminiscing about the days when avocado toast was still affordable. Speaking of which, if I see another interview featuring an elderly person lamenting about the younger generation’s indulgence in luxuries, such as travel and avocado toast, while boasting about their ability to climb the socioeconomic ladder and retire comfortably, I’ll lose it.

The harsh reality is that young people have been fed this illusion from childhood, indoctrinated with the belief that hard work inevitably leads to success. You’re told to pursue higher education and earn a degree. Then you’re led to believe that life will effortlessly fall into place, making it a breeze to secure housing, whether renting or buying. While this may be true for some, it’s not for all.

I can only imagine the bleakness that many are feeling at this moment, especially among young people who are overwhelmed by concerns about the future, including financial worries about savings and the prospect of leaving their parents’ home. While it’s easy for elderly people, based on their own experiences, to rant about how easy it is to buy a home, don’t let their ‘advice’ (which commonly involves revoking all luxuries) stop you from living your life.

We’re all in the prime of our youth and our twenties are made for creating unforgettable memories. Spend your money on concerts, or go interrailing around Italy during the summer. These experiences are priceless and irreplaceable. Don’t get dragged down by the financial worries of home ownership and retirement, just take it one day at a time.

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