Opinion

Funding retiree care a global issue

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — DANG it, we are living too long. Thanks to decades of vaccinations, improvements in public health, and lessons in safety, the average life expectancy throughout the world doubled in the 20th century to 68 in 2010. At the same time, the birth rate halved.

This means fewer workers will be paying the pensions of more people as the 21st century progresses. Retirees will make up 35 percent of the U.S. population by 2050.

That represents both a problem and an opportunity, if people and nations are willing to make small sacrifices today that will pay off in the future. An in-depth Associated Press report noted:

– Countries are slashing pension benefits and raising the age to start collecting them.

– Employers are eliminating traditional pension plans that guaranteed retirees a monthly check.

– Individuals are not saving enough money toward their retirement.

But this is also an opportunity for people everywhere to invest now and save themselves and the world. This already is happening.

The 401(k) program has grown from an obscure rule inserted in the tax code in 1978 to a $3.6 trillion national nest egg by the end of 2012…

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