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Economics and the Role of the Retiree

The focus is on the inverse relationship of how larger social and cultural contexts shape aging processes, and how these in turn shape the societies and cultures in which they occur. Based on the current economic environment what dramatic event changed the traditional transitional path from worker to retiree in American society. How have these changing economic forces altered the role and quality of life for older adults?


The question is based on choosing an occupation you feel has been affected the most by changing economic forces.
Review how the path from worker to retiree in that occupation has been altered.
Review the various phases of retirement. Specific to the occupation you selected, explain how each of these phases has been affected by changing economic forces.
Identify the alternatives that are now available in lieu of traditional retirement.
Explain how retirement planning has affected younger adults.
Describe to what degree you feel retirement planning options affect career selection for younger adults today.

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The Social Construct of Retirement

The notion that retirement is an essential process to life and living is a social construct, a practice established based on culture and practices that over time, due to beliefs and established knowledge about working, living, social responsibility and aging has become standard and expected practice especially in the West. It is considered a consequence of the aging process in that as we get older, our biology gets to the point where we cannot function as we used to when we were younger so that after working, earning and being part of the 'working masses' for a good part of our adult life, retirement, usually at age 60 and upwards allows us to walk away from the rat race and, through various means of financial instruments that we have arranged through government as well as our own private design, we are able to finance a lifestyle that should allow us to enjoy what is deemed as 'the golden years'. Social Security, after the 2nd World War has allowed Americans and people of the modern world to have a safety net to leave the labor market and finance a lifestyle that allowed them to pursue their interests. Erikson's (McLeod, 2013), theory of psychosocial stages points at this stage of life to be the end point of stage 7 where a person lives out life to be productive or to stagnate, in the cusp of moving towards the last stage, stage 8 where wisdom from the summative life experience is expected to help the individual retire with integrity and pride or without wisdom, live a life of despair. Many in society expect retirees to be living lives of wisdom - the ideal and hoped for outcome majority in society take to be as fact. It can be argued therefore that retirement has a function - to rest the aging workforce, to establish an ideal 'end' for the current crop of workforce as well as to help people find meaning in life and living.


So people take part in workplace pension schemes required by the government as well as take out, if they so wish, additional pension plans so as to ensure that their retirement is well supplemented if the workplace schemes for them don't seem to be enough. In the US, the Social Security System is one of the blanket primary retirement funding resources. As workers, we pay our taxes. The idea is, those working pay taxes to support those who cannot work - like the elderly who have retired. Thus, when we pay our taxes and social security contributions, we expect that this funds the government's social security ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of retirement. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.