Retirement dread

A survey conducted by the financial services company Fidelity questioned 10,000 salaried employees of public and private organizations about their plans for retirement. The respondents ranged in age from their early 20s to their late 50s. About 70 percent said that they believe they will be worse off when they retire than the present generation of retirees is.

Considering how badly off the current generation of old people is, that’s a pretty dire projection. Broken down further, 44 percent said that they don’t have any savings for their retirement, which means they will have to live off their national pensions. About 80 percent said they didn’t think their pensions would be enough to live off of.

When asked how much money they would need to survive after their retirement altogether (the survey results do not specify how many years the average retiree is expected to live), the average answer was ¥30 million. When asked how much they had saved so far, the average amount was about ¥5 million, or one-sixth of the amount they feel they will need. If we break the 44 percent who say they have no savings into age groups, we find that 58 percent of respondents in the their 20s have no savings, while 27 percent of respondents in their 50s say the same thing.

Also, only 52 percent say they have some idea of how much money they will receive in pension payments, and of those on 13 percent believe it will be enough to live off of. Forty-three percent believe they cannot survive on it.

What these statistics imply is that many people will have to continue working after they reach mandatory retirement age. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to stay on at their current place of employment, and even if they do it doesn’t mean they’ll be able keep their present salaries. Despite all the reform that Japan has undergone in the past two decades, lifetime employment is still a fairly common practice, meaning that for many companies and public offices salary is based on seniority. Employers are thus anxious to shed workers who reach retirement age, so if they hire you back, even for the same job, most likely you can expect a substantial cut in pay. What are the old men of the new Tachiagare Party going to do about that?

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