At the same time, individuals need to save more for potentially long lives in retirement. We need more savings programs centered in the workplace that rely on the convenience of payroll deduction. More employers should automatically enroll workers in 401(k) and similar, tax advantaged savings plans. Employers that offer no retirement plans should be required to give workers the option of payroll deductions that go directly into Individual Retirement Accounts. Government can encourage added saving by offering a match to such contributions.
For those who are able, postponing retirement is a potent strategy for meeting the financial challenges of old age. By saving for more years, and postponing withdrawals from nest eggs, workers can substantially improve their wealth in retirement. Unfortunately, issues of health, physical endurance and employer attitudes can keep this option out of reach. Many displaced older workers are finding it difficult to get new jobs.
Age discrimination remains an insidious reality. The government should vigorously enforce age-discrimination laws and make sure older workers are not victimized in cases of corporate restructuring and downsizings.
Older workers can be a valuable resource to employers, offering great experience and interpersonal skill. Many employers recognize and tap this resource, while others should be encouraged to do the same. Employers should offer career development opportunities to workers of all ages, and adopt policies, such as flexible scheduling and phased retirement, that encourage employees to prolong their careers. For their part, workers have a responsibility to stay productive as the years pass. They should learn new technologies, embrace training opportunities, and keep up with evolving business practices that help their employers stay competitive.