The normal age in South Africa to retire is between 60 and 62 years. To qualify for government pension you must be 60. This is quite reasonable as the average life expectancy of a person is 61.2 years. But if you look at the actual data, this information is not quite what it seems with mortality figures being skewed in some sectors.

In South Africa, the death toll has spiked for people between the ages of 20-40, and this is not the norm anywhere. In other countries the line shows a smooth increase over time.

Unfortunately, because of the impact of HIV and Aids, more young people pass away, and this brings down the general life expectancy. This basically means that because of the deaths of so many young people today, people who make it over the age of 40 are living longer today. It is believed that people who make it through the danger years of 20-40 will live up to 30 years longer after they have reached the age of 60.

People live longer today than back when retirement ages were between 40-50. In addition, the jobs of today are a lot less physically demanding than they used to be so it is easier to work past the age of 60.
Furthermore, the older one gets the higher the expenses because of the medical bills as one ages. The situation as it stands now is one of people retiring long before they have to, and spending much more on health care towards the end of their lives.

There is a solution to this. There is no reason why you have to retire at 60 if you are healthy. It has been proved that if you work instead of retiring, you reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. It has also been proven that by working you keep your social circles wider and this has great health benefits. By working longer you ensure that you save more for medical costs that could occur later and by working you also are able to maintain your lifestyle.
So basically, it makes sense to delay retirement. You don’t have to stay in a high stressed job; you could look for alternative work and even try working part time. Every year you work means that you will have more savings, living the comfortable lifestyle for longer, you get to socialise more, and according to French research institute INSERM, you will have a 3.2% reduction in developing Alzheimer’s.

It is a pity then that so many companies and pension funds schemes requires a person to retire in their early 60’s. On the upside government plans to introduce reforms to require funds to be more flexible around the ages of retirement. There are also many companies who have started realising that it makes no sense to let someone go just because they are in the 60’s.

adapted from an article in the