Does a Uniform Retirement Age Make Sense?

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • Due to rising life expectancies, many policy experts would encourage people to work longer.
  • However, such changes assume all workers, regardless of socioeconomic status (SES), have experienced similar gains in life expectancy.
  • In fact, between 1979 and 2011, the gain for men in the lowest education quartile was one third lower than for men in the highest quartile.
  • If the goal were to keep the same balance of retirement to work years as in 1979, low-SES men could work to 68 today, while high-SES men could work to 69½.
  • Thus, retirement policies that treat all workers the same hurt low-SES workers.