October 27, 2009 Leave a comment
It was interesting to attend the Institute of Directors’ Roadmap for Retirement Reform presentation last Monday (October 19th) which they used to announce the launch of their new Centre for Retirement Reform. On the face of it the presentation looked as if it would be largely about pensions but fortunately – and refreshingly – all the speakers seemed to recognise that pensions reform per se is not going to be enough. Of course it was useful to be reminded yet again that our current pensions system was introduced when the average male life expectancy was 63 – what clearer evidence is needed of why it is no longer fit for purpose? But beyond this, the clear message from all seemed to be that meaningful impact in terms of reforming “retirement” will only come when employers create the culture, opportunities and support to help those people who want to, or need to, stay in work for longer.
We look forward to finding out more about the work of the Centre as it develops. At this stage, perhaps we have two caveats. Apparently one of the Centre’s first areas of interest is to be what are commonly labelled “olderpreneurs” – older individuals who start their own businesses. In respect of this we take the view that the focus needs to shift from helping older people to start a business (generally comparatively easy) to helping them build and sustain their business (difficult). Otherwise all that is happening is encouraging a new generation of business lemmings, racing towards a cliff-edge of failure and disappointment. Additionally, and on a different note, we yet again call for the development of a new terminology. “Retirement” will only truly be reformed when we have an adequate vocabulary to describe all the various states (non-working, part-time working, portfolio working, self-employment, volunteering, etc) that are currently covered by this outmoded term.